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The Worry List: Hot Sauce Fantasy Edition

Fantasy season is right around the corner and while we are all ignoring our significant others while we pretend to know how to use excel and understand advanced analytics there are several players whose contract disputes, injuries or injury histories have us wondering about their futures.  After speaking to those in the know and evaluating each situation here’s whether or not you should worry about each specific player.

Don’t Worry about Ezekiel Elliot.

We spoke to fantasy guru Andy McNamara on our last podcast.  He seems to be convinced (as most of us are) that Jerry Jones will lack the patience and resolve that the Steelers had last season and pull the trigger on getting what he wants.  SI has reported that Zeke and the Cowboys should reach a deal over the weekend.  Whether it’s down then or not, #21 will be in the lineup sooner than later this season and this should cement his top 4 status.

Worry about Melvin Gordon.

The Chargers ownership are notoriously cheap.  Rather than drinking Jerry Jones’ Johnny Walker Blue, Dean Spanos is more likely bumming a shot of Fireball off some college kids who are happy to trade a drink for him to leave them alone.  The Chargers are a pass heavy team and Austin Ekeler proved his worth last season when Gordon went down with an injury and Jstin Jackson has the build of a three down back.

Don’t Worry about Antonio Brown Drama.

I get it, making fun of the diva wide receiver who died his mustache blonde is funny.  The cryo-frostbitten and the helmet issue have been enjoyable.  They are largely still a smoke screen.  While we aren’t sure how much of this issue is actually disconcerting and how much of this is made for TV HBO drama.  One thing’s for certain, AB will be a high end WR1 even considering the downgrade at quarterback.

Worry about Kenyan Drake.

Kenyan Drake (Worry): I’ve been worried about Kenyan Drake when he was healthy.  Obviously foot injuries are more worrisome for running backs than almost any other position.  However, it isn’t clear to me that the enormous Kalen Ballage (who ran a 4.4 40 yard dash at the combine and is as good a pass catcher as Drake) wouldn’t win the ball outright.  However, Kenyan Drake is still going in the 6th (as per Fantasy Pros ADP) round in what looks to be, at best, a split backfield for a team that likely won’t be any good.

Don’t worry about Dalvin Cook.

I understand that it takes 8-10 months to recover from an ACL injury.  However, the data indicates that running backs are far more productive in the second year of their return to football.  They regain full strength, explosiveness and confidence in their knee.  Cook should get the workload and will look more like his rookie campaign than his sophomore year.

Worry about Carson Wentz.

Carson Wentz is awesome.  He has amazing weapons.  However, the greatest predictor of future health is past health.  Jesus, I’ve heard that enough from my own doctor.  If you don’t want a cigar smoking, whiskey swilling patient then maybe find a new career path! But I digress… Wentz is great when healthy but his health is a legitimate concern. 

Worry immensely about Andrew Luck:

The Colts medical staff is incompetent.  I hate to talk about others work and perhaps this is somewhat reckless but there appears to be more legitimate “doctors” working in tanning salons in Miami (for reference please see Billy Corbin’s Screwball).  Honestly, when you can’t figure out the location of the injury, you probably should be working in a less precise profession.  This reminds me of the time Peyton Manning missed a full season when we expected him back or the time Andrew Luck missed half a season and looked like his arm was hanging by nothing but skin, prayer and good fortune.  See what I’m saying about this medical staff? 

Seriously don’t worry about Jimmy Garropolo.

Jimmy G looked awful and posted a 0.0 qb rating in the preseason game against the Broncos.  He also looked hesitant and kept turning away from contact.  He seemed concerned to step up into the pocket and generally looked about as bad as I’ve ever seen a quarterback play.  However, the fear will get somewhat mitigated as he gets more snaps in and we’ve seen him play at a high level before.  The addition of Tevin Coleman to a Kyle Shanahan offense (the two were very successful together in Atlanta) and the return of such faces as Dante Pettis and Jerrick McKinnon should mean that this offense will be much improved.

Yup. Worry about Kareem Hunt:

I realize Hunt is going late in drafts.  My worry here is that Nick Chubb will be so effective in this wide open offense that by the time Hunt is eligible to return from his suspension, it may be hard for the Browns to get the former Georgia Bulldog off the field.  This means that Hunt would be an upgraded version of Duke Johnson but likely with little chemistry with Baker Mayfield.  At this point, he is a big-named handcuff.  At the very least he is being drafted as such, but he should only hold value to Nick Chubb owners.

Don’t worry about AJ Green:

The injury to AJ Green actually helps fantasy owners here.  At the moment he is being drafted in the fifth round (as per FantasyPros ADP).  This makes Green a flex with immense upside and in previous seasons was typically drafted too highly anyway.  Green has come off of injury before and has always been integrated back into the offense immediately.  Provided that you prepare for the first few weeks without him, AJ Green may payoff huge as the 54th consensus pick in most drafts.

Worry about Golden Tate:

This simply isn’t the same value fantasy owners got with Julian Edleman last season.  Tate looked awful after his departure from Detroit and I know few that expect much from the Giants offense that, as of now, is still led by the skeletal corpse of Eli Manning.  The team will look to Evan Engram and Sterling Sheppard to start the season.  Once Tate returns, expect for the targets to get further diluted rather than for that offense to improve.

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