24 minutes | Aug 5th 2020

93. Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – NFC South

The past two seasons, I have written an 8-part divisional series piece titled “Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer”.  As we approach the 2020 season, it’s time for the third annual installment of this series. In these 8 articles, I utilized ADP to identify two guys I am buying, two I’m selling, and a flyer off each team. Buying and selling have nothing to do with my opinion of the player and everything to do with my perceived value of the player vs. ADP. As for the flyer, these are gut feels on players deeper down in ADP that you are likely selecting in the late rounds of your drafts and in some cases, guys you will find on your league’s waiver wires. We continue the 2020 “Buy Sell Take the Flyer” Series with the NFC South. Atlanta Falcons TAMPA, FL – DECEMBER 30: Calvin Ridley #18 of the Atlanta Falcons runs after catching a pass during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. The Falcons won 34-32. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – NFC South Two Players I Am Buying Calvin Ridley – Overall ADP 44 WR17 Calvin Ridley finished 2019 with 63 catches on 93 targets for 866 yards and 7 touchdowns. In his rookie season, Ridley finished with 64 catches on 92 targets for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 2018, he played in all 16 games and in 2019 he was limited to 13.  The Dynasty community has long talked about the third-year breakout WR. Ridley has all the markings of being just that. He finished both 2018 and 2019 as WR22 in PPR scoring. 195.9 points in ’18 followed by 197 in ’19. Ridley plays in an offense that likes to throw the football. The Atlanta Falcons have ranked 5th and 1st in pass attempts in Ridley’s first two seasons, and that is a trend I would not expect to decrease very much in 2020. I have Ridley ranked 15th in my WR PPR rankings and I am happily taking him towards the back end of round 3 in my drafts. Matt Ryan – Overall ADP 85 QB9 Matt Ryan has finished as a top-12 scoring Quarterback 6 times, including two top 2 finishes and a QB11 finish a year ago. Ryan enters 2020 in position to repeat his top 12 ways. He has two top weapons returning in Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, 3rd year WR Russell Gage showed promise late in 2019, and the Falcons added RB Todd Gurley to the backfield. Atlanta led the league in pass attempts in 2019 with 684 and were 5th in 2018 with 617. Expect the Falcons to continue to throw and throw often in 2020. As as a result, I have Matt Ryan ranked 7th in my QB rankings and a buy at his current ADP. Two Players I Am Selling Hayden Hurst – Overall ADP 106 TE11 The Falcons allowed Austin Hooper to walk via free agency and traded for Hayden Hurst. Hurst enters an offense with targets-a-plenty. Hooper was targeted 97 times in 2019, (in 13 games) and 88 times in 2018. Combined in those two seasons, Hooper totaled 146 catches, 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Falcons did nothing in the draft to address tight end, so you expect Hurst to be first in line to get most of the targets thrown to the tight ends in that offense. I do not expect Hurst to be as productive as Hooper, but is 60% as productive really too much to ask? If Hooper can stay healthy, he should flirt with top 12-15 TE status. Hurst is currently my 13th ranked TE making him sell in comparison to his current ADP of 11. Todd Gurley – Overall ADP 26 RB14 Todd Gurley finished the 2019 season with 857 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns to go along with 31 receptions for 207 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He appeared in 15 games, and his 1,064 total yards were the lowest of his 5 year career. His 254 touches were the lowest since his 250 in his rookie season. He finished 2019 as RB14 with 219.4 PPR points. On March 19, 2020, Gurley was released by the Rams, and signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons on April 6, 2020. As far as landing spots go, the Falcons are about as good as it gets for Gurley. He joins a potent offense with minimal competition for touches. There’s certainly some optimism here for fantasy purposes. It’s a homecoming for Gurley, and he’s motivated on a one-year deal.  Gurley is the unquestioned starter for a historically strong Atlanta offense and will see all the volume his body can handle. I have him ranked 15th in my RB rankings, making him a difficult sell here. Take the Flyer Russell Gage – Overall ADP 322 WR95 Russell Gage was 6th round selection out of LSU in 2018.  He has compiled 55 catches 509 yards and 1 TD in parts of two seasons in Atlanta.  Mohammad Sanu was dealt to the Patriots prior to Week 8 last year, and at that time Gage had 11 receptions for 102 yards.  After the trade, Gage finished the season with 38 catches 344 yards and a TD. Gage was WR120 before the trade and WR49 after it. In addition, Austin Hooper missed Weeks 11-13 a year ago. In those three games, Gage saw 23 targets, had 15 grabs for 145 yards, and the only TD of his career.  It’s a small sample size, but over 16 games at that pace it’s 80/773/5.  In those three games, Gage was WR27; that 16 game pace, by the way, would land him as WR32. Hooper is gone and as much as I dig Hayden Hurst, he’s not Austin Hooper.  Gage showed last year that he’s going to be a part of this offense and that he can be relied upon to contribute. That makes him worth the flyer here. Carolina Panthers NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 30: D.J. Moore #12 of the Carolina Panthers runs with the ball during the first half against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) 2020 Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – NFC South Two Players I Am Buying D.J. Moore – Overall ADP 30 WR10 In 15 games a season ago, D.J. Moore posted 230.5 PPR points and a WR16 finish. It’s impressive considering that the majority of his production came with below average replacement Quarterback play. In 2018, Moore finished as WR36 with 157 PPR points. With Teddy Bridgewater in place as the Panthers Quarterback, things are looking up for Moore in 2020. Bridgewater is not an air yards kind of QB and Moore isn’t an air yards kind of WR. In 2019, Moore ran a slant route 27% of the time–the most of any route on his tree. He was successful on those routes 81.1% of the time. If Moore is targeted as much as he was last season (135), he is in line for a monster season. Moore specializes in yards after the catch, and new Panther’s OC Joe Brady knows Bridgewater and his strengths and should tailor make this offense to benefit those running routes close to the quarterback. 2020 is going to be the first of many seasons that D.J. Moore makes his way into the top-12 WRs. I have him ranked 8th in my WR rankings and I am buying him at his current ADP. Christian McCaffrey – Overall ADP 1 RB 1 Christian McCaffrey was the NFL’s best fantasy player in PPR leagues after having the second-best fantasy season in NFL history. Throughout the season, McCaffrey accumulated 471.2 fantasy points, 1,387 rushing yards, 1,005 receiving yards, and 19 total touchdowns. He also became the third player in NFL history to record 1,000+ receiving and 1,000+ rushing yards in the same year. As great as Christian McCaffrey is, regression in 2020 is almost certain. After all, he is coming off the second best fantasy season in league history. His role in the passing game likely remains unchanged. Teddy Bridgewater, his new Quarterback, thrives on throws close to the line of scrimmage. Regression or no regression, I recently moved CMC up to #1 in my running backs rankings and into first overall. If you are sitting on the clock with the first overall selection in your draft, do not over think it–take CMC. Two Players I Am Selling Robby Anderson – Overall ADP 148 WR55 Robby Anderson finished last season as WR40 with 162.3 PPR points. 2019 was the final season of Anderson’s contract with the New York Jets, and fantasy managers welcomed a new team for their WR. That new team is the Carolina Panthers. Carolina was not the landing spot most would have picked for Anderson. Anderson goes from being pretty much the top receiving weapon the Jets had for three seasons to playing 3rd fiddle in Carolina. The Panthers offense will employ plenty of multi-WR sets, so Anderson will still have the opportunity to be a field-stretcher while D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey work the short routes. It will be interesting to see how the competition between Anderson and Curtis Samuel plays out for the “deep-threat” role and if Teddy Bridgewater can make the necessary throws. Even on a better offense than what he dealt with in New York, it may be tough for Robby to be a consistent fantasy producer in 2020. I am not certain how this season works out for Anderson, and I would prefer that I don’t find out with him on my roster. Curtis Samuel – Overall ADP 168 WR 61 Curtis Samuel was one of the most hyped WRs entering draft season in 2019. He didn’t deliver on the hype, but considering the injury to Cam Newton and the replacement level quarterback play he was saddled with all last season, his WR36 finish with 171.7 PPR points wasn’t that bad. There’s a ton of turnover in Carolina with a new head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater). D.J. Moore and CMC are the clear top targets on the offense while Samuel and newly signed Robby Anderson should fight for next up. Samuel is going very late in fantasy drafts, but not late enough for me. I am passing on the receiver that is very well the 4th or 5th passing
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