** Editor’s Note: With injury concerns piling up – Carson Wentz, Michael Thomas, Dak Prescott, Carl Lawson, Travis Etienne and more of the like – savvy fantasy leagues have been holding off on their drafts. But with the pro football season opening up on September 9, we can only hold off for so long. With that in mind, I’ll be rolling out John Frascella’s fantasy football series over the course of the next few weeks.
If you’ve read my stuff before, you’ve surely heard the following line:
Introductions are boring! We just wanna get to the damn sleepers, right? We hit on running back sleepers yesterday. And it's time to take a look at the wide receivers.
Well, as The Joker said, “Here…we…go.”
Chicago never really seemed interested in extending Allen Robinson, so Mooney’s position within the organization seems solidified. Things are shaping up for Mooney to be one of the most relied upon players within this bizarre offensive situation. Hot seat head coach Matt Nagy has said from the beginning that rookie Justin Fields can’t beat out “The Red Rifle” Andy Dalton by Week 1, so the veteran will be the one targeting shifty Mooney.
I’m not gonna lie – these situations are always kind of annoying. Because (1) Dalton is new to Chicago in the first place, so we don’t really know about his chemistry (or lack thereof) with Mooney and (2) You always kind of feel like the rookie is going to take over at some point during the season (sooner rather than later, in this case). So, maybe Dalton does have nice timing with Mooney; but, that could quickly change when Fields takes over the reins.
Yet and still, we are talking about sleepers here. At the time of this writing, Mooney is the Redraft WR49 on Fantasy Pros. I like him for both Redraft and Dynasty PPR at the relative pricepoints we are getting. He’s quick, he’s fast, and he seems to take the top off the opposing defense when they least expect it. I think Mooney is savvy beyond his years.
As a frame of reference, DraftKings Sportsbook has Mooney at over/under 705.5 receiving yards. To be honest, I think 750+ is an easy sell in this instance.
You know, sleeper doesn’t necessarily have to mean player you’ve never heard of before. Sure, Crowder is a crafty, known vet in the slot, but we’re talking about the supposed WR63 right now. That’s just plain silly value, to me.
We’re in a typical “money” spot for fantasy football right here – Corey Davis and Keelan Cole were New York’s free agent acquisitions, and Elijah Moore was selected in the draft. The combined result of that is very simple: Crowder becomes a “boring” name while Davis, Cole and Moore end up getting more attention than they necessarily should. This is when we grab Crowder for little-to-no risk in Redraft.
The easy narrative is this: Moore also plays in the slot, so Crowder won’t be a part of the Jets’ long-term plans. And sure, that makes logical sense, but what if rookie QB Zach Wilson finds a natural rhythm with Crowder? That’s absolutely possible, and we have no way of really knowing at this point.
Could Crowder potentially outperform Davis, the WR41? Sure, it’s possible, but unlikely. In the end, we are risking nothing here to get nice PPR upside from Crowder.
I’m not gonna hit ya with overkill on this one… Cole Beasley is 32 years old and his anti-vaccine distractions are getting in the way. So, short and sweet, the door is open for Davis as the WR68 in Redraft. Obviously, at 22 years young, we like Davis in Dynasty, too.
Stefon Diggs is the primetime top dog for this team, but if Davis emerged as the second man in line I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.
He’s at over/under 650.5 receiving yards on DraftKings Sportsbook. A fair number, but one he should beat if he develops at a reasonable pace.
It seems like “Larry Legend” Fitzgerald is eventually going to hang ‘em up, so that’s one less man in the way of “AJG”. DeAndre Hopkins is the undisputed No. 1 and Christian Kirk is the sexy name in this wide receiver corps, but AJG is a redzone machine and WR77 is essentially off the board.
The risk here is zero, zilch. If he doesn’t work out early in the season, he becomes a very easy drop.
But, I like change-of-scenery players! Because, well, we have the added value of the unknown. Again, what if Kyler Murray just likes the way things are going with Green? What if he develops a direct eye for him in the redzone? What if A.J. wants to bounce back in a major way so he can gain a couple more contracts on his way out the door?
There are a number of positive possibilities and we don’t have to spend a dime on A.J., here. Over/under 545.5 receiving yards on DraftKings Sportsbook – take a shot!
Tim Patrick, Denver Broncos
6-4, 212 pounds, long, lean and talented. You gotta be kidding me when I see WR86 next to this young man’s name.
To me, Tim Patrick was one of the most impressive “out of nowhere” players in the NFL last season. He just looks the part, top to bottom. He has the traditional body of a frontline receiver, and I was truly surprised to see that his skillset matched his promise. His teammate, Jerry Jeudy – who I championed before the season – did not impress me, on the other hand.
What if things just continue on this way? What if Patrick – skill for skill, plus toughness – is just a better NFL player than Jeudy? Well, that would be something because Jeudy is the WR32 in Redraft and WR27 in Dynasty. Other than route running, I just didn’t see anything that separated “JJ” from Patrick last season. Patrick was definitely tougher, and more of a grinder.
So, WR86 is just a no-brainer on Patrick, here. Last year, out of nowhere, he had six impressive touchdowns… and what if new QB Teddy Bridgewater wins the job and takes a specific liking to him?
John Frascella is a published sports author and Senior Fantasy Analyst for Aaron Torres Online. Follow him on Twitter @LegendSports7 for all things fantasy football
Also, make sure to subscribe to John's podcast, "Pickin Pigskin Winners" which will debut next week