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Around the NFL Pop Quiz: AFC East


In 2018, after writing some uninspiring articles prompting me to wonder if I was producing anything of value or simply parroting the same advice that most of the fantasy internet had already trumpeted, I challenged myself. Not in any sort of meaningful way, like losing the excess weight or teaching myself coding or something like that. Rather, I decided to write about the entire league.

It's something that many readers assume writers do - look at literally every single person in the league for all sorts of value and potential, but in reality, you can find yourself subconsciously agreeing with your peers in written form rather than examine each and every team. As I found myself doing that, I mined the depths of the fantasy caves for those names that weren't really in the popular sleeper list.

The result was one or two good suggestions (take an extra look at Tyler Boyd, and stay away from Gronk) along with many others that didn't quite come to fruition (look to the New York Jets for fantasy football production in the year of our lord 2018.) That's the joy of organizing these by team: I'm rarely able to say why my Ravens advice is more beneficial than my Chargers advice, but I'll do my best this year to provide that weight, especially so you can yell at me when things go bad. As a quick technical note, all mentions of ADP come from FantasyFootballCalculator and is for PPR leagues, but considering the sleeper focus of this column, it shouldn't change much for other formats.

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New England Patriots

There is a major discrepancy between __________'s draft value and his ADP

  1. James White
  2. Sony Michel
  3. N'Keal Harry
  4. Julian Edelman

In this space last year, I swore Chris Hogan would take the next step up, when instead he took the exact same step in his performance and then a different step to the Carolina Panthers in the offseason. Not the step I was hoping for.

This year, I'm applying the reverse logic, but quite frankly, it's one of those pieces of advice that's becoming more and more obvious. James White and his pass-catching prowess won't be affected by Sony Michel, nor is he likely to live at the 2018 playoff numbers that may make owners skittish in 2019. So why is the seventh-ranked running back going closer to 25th on average, let alone in PPR leagues?

White is the definition of a market inefficiency, for the second year in a row. He should be marked in pen, not pencil, into your redraft leagues as your FLEX. There is certainly no more bountiful player to be gained at a better price from this team.

Where To Take Him: End of the 5th Round
Confidence: High
Timeline: James White should be catching passes consistently out of the gate, and should only be dropped if his per-game targets (not receptions, targets) drop to 2-3 a game.

 

Miami Dolphins

It seems ___________ is being overrated and underrated all at the same time. 

  1. Kenyan Drake
  2. Devante Parker
  3. Kalen Ballage
  4. Albert Wilson

Funny enough, I kept my prompt the same from last year's because I was tickled by it, with only one (!!) option change. And just like last year, at first glance, many of these options are technically true. Devante Parker seemed to be at rock bottom with last year's 122 ADP, and now he's all the way down to 181. Kenyan Drake had decent contributions to his team last season, but his weak start to preseason has him going closer to FLEX territory than anything meaningful. And Albert Wilson.... well, that's why I said the options were true at first glance.

Welcome, Kalen Ballage. I waxed poetic about him in my same column last year, basically saying the rookie was talented enough to supplant Kenyan Drake, even if it may take a couple of years. He was certainly talented enough, but 2018 didn't give us any sort of definitive answer here. Ballage had a total of 36 attempts for 191 yards, and while no one will complain about a 10th round pick giving you that 5.36 yards per average production, it's over such a small sampling that I'm not prepared to call him an obvious "take him over Kenyan Drake" player just yet.

I'm glad this is one of my first teams I get to write about, because given how the Dolphins are basically trotting out the same players and a brand new coaching staff, there's not a lot of even semi-obvious narratives to go with here. The Miami fanbase is stuck wondering if something is going to eventually form, whether it be through the arm of Josh Rosen or through the legs of Ballage. This is where bias will ultimately hurt your draft; taking Ballage over Kenyan Drake isn't a smart play. Taking Kenyan Drake, by himself, isn't even a smart play. But assessing the proper value for Kalen Ballage before he ultimately becomes a more valuable player is how you win leagues. Getting him in drafts now, before he becomes the main "sleeper" on everyone's list, as a bench role, is certainly maximizing your value.

Where To Take Him: 10th Round
Confidence: Medium
Timeline: Be patient with Ballage, as his success will likely come this season

 

Buffalo Bills

Save Your One Dollar Bid (in keeper leagues) for __________

This is technically a trick question, in the style of "if you can make a specific argument, I'll give you credit" type short answer. In this space last year, I said that I was optimistic in Zay Jones, who proved himself to be only slightly more valuable than Austin Hooper last year. Most any articles I found trumpeted how great Josh Allen is going to be, and you can absolutely go that way for a quarterback and get no opposition from me.

If you want a player that you put away today who will almost certainly have greater value in 2020, there's no better answer for this team than Devin Singletary. Considering I don't even know if Singletary gets meaningful work in 2019, this is purely a dynasty and keeper league play. But the Buffalo Bills starting ball carriers are not likely to stay when both of their contracts run out the following offseason.

Now with all of this being acknowledged, here's the part about Singletary that could make you look smart much earlier. Singletary was good for three receptions in his first bit of preseason action, the majority of those looking like bailout attempts from Josh Allen. Given that Allen is a run-around-until-something-opens type of QB, this insanely small sample size from Singletary (and how the rest of the preseason matches it) could suggest that Singletary will get reps as the pass-play receiver. Given that the Buffalo Bills and their current roster aren't overly likely to contend in 2019, it may mean good things for Singletary's playing time.

I'll go as far to say this; camp changes everything, and I may look exceedingly stupid by the end of the month if Singletary fails to make the roster. But I think that a player that was overlooked after a successful college career at Florida Athletic, in an offense whose run-and-gun sensibility may make him more valuable, could be the absolute perfect guy to put at the end of your bench and see what happens.

Where To Take Him: 2nd round, Dynasty. Last 2 rounds, Keeper. Watch List, Re-Draft Leagues
Confidence: Medium
Timeline: If you decide to pick up Singletary, you're keeping him and his insanely affordable price for the long haul.

 

New York Jets

The player with the right price on draft day is _____________

  1. Le'Veon Bell
  2. Quincy Enunwa
  3. Robby Anderson
  4. Ty Montgomery

The popular topic of conversation is obviously all things Bell, but both New York teams seem to share the issue of having a very good running back and an awful lot of question marks in the pass-catching role. Robby Anderson as the 40th receiver off the board even makes sense if he looks like the guy from the 2018 playoffs again.

But I'd rather have most of the second round than Bell, and receivers like Christian Kirk or Allen Robinson (both going after Anderson), so the prices aren't exactly right as per current day ADP. Meanwhile, if you can resist the siren song of, uh, Tajae Sharpe, then Ty Montgomery is the definition of an end-of-the-bench opportunity. Montgomery is only 26, and he can be forgiven for not making the most of Mike McCarthy's offense in Green Bay if McCarthy didn't take it all that seriously. You aren't drafting Bell's handcuff here, but instead drafting the potential change-of-pace receiving back who can also play the slot. The same logic can also be used for drafting Jamison Crowder here, and it's ultimately up to you as a last-pick-type player, but you're basically just betting on who is more likely to retreat their 2016 season. I'll take the guy whose likely to touch the ball more, and play the dual position threat.

Where To Take Him: End of Draft
Confidence: Flier
Timeline: If you don't see Montgomery take some meaningful work by October, regardless of Bell's health, he's not worth keeping

Save your (other) one dollar bid for ________________

Per Gang Green Nation, receiver Tim White is now doing his best Jace Amaro impression at training camp. Add him to your "watch" list following the draft, and if sees five or more receptions per game early, find space for him.

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