94. Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC 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 (Average Draft Position), 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 AFC South.Houston Texans GLENDALE, AZ – OCTOBER 28: Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on October 28, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 18-15. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) 2020 “Buy Sell Take the Flyer” Two Players I Am Buying
David Johnson – Overall ADP 37 RB19
In 2016, David Johnson finished as the top fantasy scorer with 407.8 PPR fantasy points, 27.8 points clear of number two, Aaron Rodgers, and 82.4 points clear of the number two RB, Ezekiel Elliott. In 2017, DJ was limited to one game due to a wrist injury.
The 2018 Arizona Cardinals had the 32nd ranked offense – last in passing with 2,523 yards, and last in rushing with 1,342 yards, and Johnson in 16 games finished with 246.7 PPR points which was good enough for a RB9 finish. In 2019, Johnson struggled with injury, and in parts of 13 games he disappointed with 141.5 PPR points and a RB37 finish. Prior to his injury in Week 6, Johnson was RB5, averaging 20.2 points per game. Simply put, if he stays healthy he’s a top-12 type RB.
Brandin Cooks – Overall ADP 89 WR36
Brandin Cooks has 1,000+ receiving yards in 4 of 6 seasons played. During this offseason, he was traded to Houston, and at the age of 26, he finds himself on his fourth NFL team. Cooks comes with risk of injury, and that in my opinion, is factored into his ADP.
Prior to obtaining Cooks via trade, the Texans traded away DeAndre Hopkins and his 150+ targets. Cooks is certainly a candidate to lead the team in targets along with fellow health risk, Will Fuller. Playing with Deshaun Watson, Brandin Cooks, if healthy, is an amazing value in the 7th round.Two Players I Am Selling
Will Fuller – Overall ADP 87 WR35
When he’s on the field, Will Fuller is a player I am buying, I love the talent. The reality is that he misses far too much time to be an asset we can depend on. We’ve seen the big play potential time and time again with Will Fuller, and his opportunity to be fantasy relevant is better than ever. DeAndre Hopkins and his 150+ targets are gone.
If you’re looking for a weekly upside play in the mid-to-late rounds of your drafts, Will Fuller may be your guy. For me, he is not. Fuller has missed 23 games (36%) over four seasons, making him a nice best ball league target and nothing else.
Deshaun Watson – Overall ADP 64 QB6
There are 6 QBs to “want” in fantasy football in 2020, and Deshaun Watson is certainly in the six pack. I don’t overly like listing Watson as a sell, but for the purpose of this article it makes sense. Make no mistake, Watson is a great fantasy quarterback, and that should continue in 2020 even without DeAndre Hopkins.
In 2019, Watson became the 3rd QB in history to throw for 3,800 passing yards and rush for 400 yards all while scoring seven rushing TDs–joining Cam Newton & Daunte Culpepper. Watson had seven top-5 QB fantasy performances, behind only Lamar Jackson’s 11. The loss of DeAndre Hopkins means Watson lacks a true No. 1 WR on the roster. This is a regrettable sell for me, but a sell nonetheless.Take the Flyer
Randall Cobb – Overall ADP 237 WR75
In 2019 as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, Randall Cobb had his best season since 2015 with 55 receptions, 828 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns–a WR44 finish after averaging 10.3 PPR points per game.
2020 will be Cobb’s age 30 season. He will be a member of an offense with WRs that struggle to stay on the field and an offense that dealt their undisputed top target to Arizona. Houston signed Cobb to a 3-year, $27 million deal with $18 million guaranteed. He will have a role in the slot in this offense and his value is too good to pass up.Indianapolis Colts INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – DECEMBER 22: Nyheim Hines #21 of the Indianapolis Colts returns a punt for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) 2020 “Buy Sell Take the Flyer” Two Players I Am Buying
Nyheim Hines – Overall ADP 148 RB51
Nyheim Hines is a pass catching running back, and a very serviceable one. As a ball carrier however, he is not a RB you should look to roster. He is a member of an Indianapolis Colts backfield that has an established ball carrier in Marlon Mack and a bright, new, shiny toy in Jonathan Taylor via the draft. Clearly Hines has a defined role in this offense, and the good news is it is as a pass catcher.
Hines very likely has struck fantasy gold in terms of his quarterback. Philip Rivers has proven over the course of his 16 year career to frequently target his running backs. Rivers’ play tendencies dramatically elevated the fantasy value of players like Austin Ekeler and Danny Woodhead, and I am buying that Hines will benefit as well.
Jack Doyle – Overall ADP 149 TE17
Similar to Nyheim Hines, Jack Doyle benefits from his new QB. Another benefit is he won’t be competing with Eric Ebron anymore for targets.
Philip Rivers has a storied history of feeding guys like Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry. Doyle is not as athletically gifted as those players, but he will be on the field and offers a nice option for Rivers to dump the ball off. In this offense he should have little difficulty surpassing TE17 if he remains healthy.Two Players I Am Selling
TY Hilton – Overall ADP 53 WR24
In addition to those already mentioned, one of the players that should benefit from Rivers is TY Hilton. The reality is that everyone in this offense should benefit in the passing game from the switch from Jacoby Brissett to Philip Rivers. Philip Rivers, however, is also no longer in his prime, and my concern is that the ball will be spread around a lot and the run game will have a big role in this offense.
This take could burn me. TY Hilton has 1,000+ receiving yards in 5 of 8 seasons. In 2014, with 155 targets he led the league in receiving with 1,448 yards. Just two years ago, he had 1,270 receiving yards in only 14 games. TY is 30 years old and comes with injury concerns. The Colts in the past two seasons have added Michael Pittman Jr. and Parris Campbell for a reason. Hilton is a WR that you should own, no doubt, he is just not a WR at this stage of his career I see drafting in round 5.
Jonathan Taylor – Overall 45 RB22
Jonathan Taylor was the third running back taken in this year’s draft, only behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire and D’Andre Swift. Taylor enjoyed an outstanding three years at Wisconsin, winning the Doak Walker award, which is given to the nation’s best collegiate running back, in back-to-back years in 2018 and 2019. With Wisconsin, he posted 6,174 rushing yards and 50 TDs.
The gamble with drafting Taylor is how the unusual off-season and the pandemic has impacted our exposure to these rookies. We will not get our typical preseason look in 2020. Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines will certainly be involved, especially early in the season. JT is a back I want a lot of in Dynasty, but being drafted as a top-24 RB in redraft, I am out.Take the Flyer
Philip Rivers – Overall ADP 169 QB23
I really like Philip Rivers this season–probably more than I should. It will be strange watching him on the field without a lighting bolt on his helmet. After 16 seasons and 224 straight starts with the Chargers organization, Rivers signed a one year deal as Frank Reich’s QB in Indianapolis. As a result of that signing, he finds himself behind one of the league’s best offensive lines.
Last year, Rivers attempted the 7th most passes of 20+ yards in the league and only completed 27-of-79 attempts, nine of which were picked off. Behind this offensive line and with the talent in this offense and time to read a defense, Rivers will dramatically reduce his 20 interceptions from a year ago. He’s a legit streamable QB, and a QB I have ranked at 21. With his ADP, he is the type of QB I will wait to take a flyer on.Jacksonville Jaguars JACKSONVILLE, FL – NOVEMBER 18: Leonard Fournette #27 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs with the ball during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at TIAA Bank Field on November 18, 2018 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) 2020 “Buy Sell Take the Flyer” Two Players I Am Buying
Leonard Fournette – Overall ADP 29 RB14
In 2019, Fournette appeared in 15 games, quieting the noise from the dynasty community that he’s an injury prone running back. Fournette finished 2019 as the 6th highest scoring back in PPR with 259.4 points. His 341 touches were 37 more than his rookie season, and they were second only to Christian McCaffrey’s 403. Incredibly, Fournette only scored three touchdowns on those 341 touches. He found the end zone once for every 113.67 touches in 2019.
Fournette is in no man’s land when it comes to Dynasty. His 5th year option was declined and his team unsuccessfully tried to trade him all offseason. In redraft, he’s a back I target. Jacksonville is likely done with Fournette after the season and LF27 likely is run into the dirt as a result. It reminds me of DeMarco Murray’s 449 touch final season in Dallas. Murray finished that season as RB2 with 351.1 PPR points. Fournette is a top-12 RB, at and at his current price, I am buying.
Dede Westbrook – Overall ADP 236 WR74
I’m not a D.J. Chark guy, as you will soon learn. I am of the opinion that someone will step up in this Jacksonville offense, so why can’t it be Dede Westbrook?
Dede didn’t deliver as expected in 2019. There was a lot of hype based around Nick Foles being at QB and a bunch of targets heading Dede’s way. Well, Foles went down early and D.J. Chark broke out while becoming Gardner Minshew’s favorite target. The Jaguars brought in Jay Gruden to be the team’s new offensive coordinator, and Gruden’s offense historically tends to spread the ball around. Jacksonville might be the worst team in the league in 2019, so there will be no shortage of pass attempts here. At WR74 I am going to buy that with an increase in volume, Dede Westbrook will be fantasy relevant again.Two Players I Am Selling
DJ Chark – Overall ADP 52 QB23
I know I am in the minority when it comes to valuing D.J. Chark, and I am ok with that. Chark broke out last season and finished as the WR17 with 225.8 PPR points in 15 games. His stat line read 118 targets, 73 catches, 1,008 yards, and 8 touchdowns–quite impressive for a WR that totaled 174 yards as a rookie.
As the season progressed in 2019, Chark faded. For the first 11 weeks of 2019, he was the WR5 in fantasy, and the Dynasty community was trading two first round picks and their first born child for him. From Weeks 12-17, he was WR58. Chark finished tied for 8th in TD receptions with 8, while ranking 19th in targets and 29th in receptions. Needless to say, TD regression looks likely for D.J. in 2020, and without those TD catches, he falling out of the top-24 WR group.
Gardner Minshew – Overall ADP 204 QB26
Gardner Minshew was one of, it not the best, feel good stories of the season in 2019. A relative unknown summoned off the bench in Week One, he went on to a respectable QB20 finish in 14 games played.
Similar to D.J. Chark, I see regression for the Mustache in year two. Even though the price of Minshew reflects it, I am still passing on him and leaving him for someone else. Look for the Jags to be in on Trevor Lawrence all season long.Take the Flyer
Laviska Shenault – Overall ADP 247 WR80
If there is a bright spot in the Jags offense not named Fournette, I believe it is Laviska Shenault. The Jaguars picked Laviska Shenault Jr. in the 2nd Round of this year’s draft. He showed some extreme, raw athletic ability in college and could be used in a number of ways in this offense.
He joins the Jaguars receiving corps with D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, and Keelan Cole. I envision Shenault lining up all over the field and the backfield in order for the Jags to get the ball in his hands. Durability is always an issue with Shenault, but at WR80 I am willing to take the flyer on the rookie.Tennessee Titans NASHVILLE, TN – NOVEMBER 11: Jonnu Smith #81 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the ball while defended by Stephon Gilmore #24 of the New England Patriots during the first quarter at Nissan Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) 2020 “Buy Sell Take the Flyer” Two Players I Am Buying
Jonnu Smith – Overall ADP 153 TE19
In his fourth season in Tennessee, Jonnu Smith is finally a starter. In a limited role in 2019, Smith finished as TE19 with 69.7 PPR fantasy points.
The Titans wide receivers, other than A.J. Brown, are not a group to get excited about. The Titans are one of the thinnest when it comes to depth at the Wide Receiver position. Outside of Browns’ 20% target share, no other player had a higher target share than Corey Davis’s 16% . Even in this run heavy offense, there is an opportunity for targets behind Brown — targets that Smith will soak up. I believe that Smith has TE-12 upside, and as a result, I am buying him in late Round 12.
Darrynton Evans – Overall ADP 187 RB59
After two seasons starting at Appalachian State, Darrynton Evans is taking his talents to Nashville. Despite his relatively underwhelming build (5’10” 203 lbs.), Evans served as the lead back of a solid rushing attack. On 256 touches in 2019, Evans recorded 1,484 yards (5.8 yards-per-carry) and 18 touchdowns to go along with 21 receptions on 27 targets for 198 yards.
Evans is expected to take on the “Dion-Lewis” role in the Titans offense as the primary pass-catching back to complement Derrick Henry. The good news is he has the skill set to do it better than Dion Lewis. He could have some stand-alone value as a RB4 in redraft leagues, but stands out as a great option in dynasty leagues as a solid PPR value and a top-handcuff to Henry. In Round 15, he is a running back worth adding. If Henry goes down he’s a lottery ticket.Two Players I Am Selling
Derrick Henry – Overall ADP 7 RB6
Derrick Henry is a beast of a man, and I can only assume that tackling him is the equivalent to stopping small sedan. Full disclosure: I have Henry ranked at #6 in my redraft RB rankings. I do see a scenario where I am going to regret that ranking.
Regression is coming for Henry and the Titans in 2020. Ryan Tannehill is not the QB3 in fantasy that he played to once taking over last season. A.J. Brown is not the WR3 that he played to during that same time, and Derrick Henry is not the RB2 that averaged 23.6 points a game, either. Derrick Henry, simply put, is not scoring 18 touchdowns in 2020, and for a RB who had a career high 18 receptions last season, he could easily fall back into the mid-teens in fantasy scoring. As a result, I am selling regardless of my RB rankings.
A.J. Brown – Overall ADP 42 WR16
A.J. Brown had a very productive rookie season. On just 52 receptions, Brown finished as the WR21 in PPR scoring. Of players with at least 50 catches, he was #1 in yards per reception and yards after the catch. Combine that with 8 TDs and you have a great rookie season.
His second-half explosion witnessed with Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback simply will not be maintained. In the games Brown played with Marcus Mariota last season, he was WR44. With Tannehill (who was QB3 from Weeks 7-17) Brown was WR3. Tannehill will regress, as will A.J. Brown. He remains an extremely talented young WR, but at WR16 in the middle of round four, he is being over-drafted.Take the Flyer
Corey Davis – Overall ADP 239 WR77
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis entered the NFL after Tennessee made him the the 5th overall selection and first WR selected in the 2017 draft. He enters 2020 as a WR in the final year of his rookie deal after the Titans declined his fifth year option. To be frank, Corey Davis has been a complete bust thus far in his career.
His ADP in his rookie year was #87 and he finished as WR87. After a monster playoff performance (9/98/2), he entered 2018 as WR27 and finished the season as WR76. In 2019, his ADP entering the season was #64 and he finished as WR79. Corey Davis managed to get worse with Ryan Tannehill as his quarterback as the other key members of his offense flourished. Have I sold you yet?
Corey Davis shouldn’t be drafted in a standard redraft league. He’s a guy to take a flyer on if he does something early off your waiver wire. I mean, why not? It’s now or never for the former first rounder.Thank you for listening to Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – AFC South