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Scouting for the 2019 Fantasy Football Season Now

Even though 2018 is coming to a close, it’s never too early to start thinking about next season. Week 17 is the final impression we will have from some players and could help push recency bias towards a positive or negative thought process. The players we need to track this weekend could be a rookie who hasn’t made the best impression this season or it could be a vet who is fighting for a starting job next season.

If your fantasy season is over, spend Week 17 taking a few mental notes. Dynasty owners will be getting to work right away and could target some of these players in the near future. Redraft owners can keep these players in mind come draft season and take a look at some potential late round bargains.

The great thing about dynasty is that the season is never truly over and it’s never too early to start looking ahead.

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Scouting for 2019 Now

Royce Freeman (RB, DEN)

After a ton of hype to begin the 2018 season, Royce Freeman was never able to amount to much. Part of the issue was Phillip Lindsay’s incredible and improbable season, but you can also tie it back into coaching and game plan as well. Freeman saw more stacked boxes than any other running back in the NFL this season, facing eight or more men 40.71% of the time. Every time Freeman was in the game, opposing defenses knew the Broncos would run the football. Worst yet was the play calling that continually ran Freeman into those boxes.

Lindsay will be facing a long recovery which will include 3-4 months of rehab after wrist surgery this week. That could give a leg up to Freeman during off-season workouts and preparation for next year. For now, in Week 17, Freeman will get a chance to finally show fantasy owners why we drafted him this year. Freeman will get to face the Los Angeles Chargers who have given up 20.28 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs this season, 11th-most in the league. Freeman won’t be an every-down back in 2019, but if the Broncos move on from Vance Joseph and find a head coach with more creativity in offensive game planning, Freeman and Lindsay could become a lethal backfield.

Kenyan Drake/Kalen Ballage (RB, MIA)

What could have been if the Miami Dolphins decided to stay away from Frank Gore and run with Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage this season instead? Drake won a lot of fantasy championships for owners last season after Jay Ajayi was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles. That strong run carried in owner’s minds through the off-season and into 2018 drafts while the signing of Gore was completely ignored by most. Drake was very inconsistent this season but was still able to finish as the RB14 in PPR leagues, which may catch many owners off guard.

Miami will get the Buffalo Bills in Week 17 who have given up 21.73 points to opposing running backs this season, ninth-most in the NFL. Even though Gore has announced he plans on returning for another season, I can’t imagine the Dolphins re-signing him while having Drake and Ballage available. These two could also be affected by a coaching change this off-season since it sounds like the Dolphins will be moving on from Adam Gase. Hopefully, the Dolphins can find a coach that knows how to utilize running backs successfully.

D'Onta Foreman (RB, HOU)

It took long enough, but D’Onta Foreman finally found his way back into a football game last week against the Philadelphia Eagles. After tearing his Achilles last season, Foreman had a long recovery, but fantasy owners have eagerly anticipated his return, hoping he could find even just a little success that points towards a bright future. Last season Foreman was able to average 4.2 yards per carry on just over seven attempts per game.

Foreman’s first game wasn’t great, rushing seven times and losing a yard but he was able to find the end zone with a receiving touchdown. It looks like Lamar Miller will be back against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 17, but if the Texans decide to rest Miller heading into the playoffs, they could give Foreman and extended look to decide if he could be a bigger part of the offense in 2019. The Jaguars give up the fifth fewest points per game to opposing running backs though, so the matchup will not be easy.

Robert Foster (WR, BUF)

The new WR1 in Buffalo continues to impress, especially on the deep ball, during this run to end the 2018 season and now gets to face the Miami Dolphins who have given up the eighth most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers over the past four weeks. It sounds like the Dolphins will have top cornerback Xavien Howard which will help, but Foster has shown he can beat anyone around the league with his speed.

This season Foster has averaged 22.6 yards per reception, which is the most for wide receivers with at least 20 receptions. We know Josh Allen isn’t the most accurate quarterback in the league and has a lot of growing to do, but his huge arm and ability to gain yards on the ground are all Foster needs to be a fantasy asset in 2019. One more huge performance to end 2018 is all fantasy owner will need to remember him come draft day next year.

Broncos Wide Receivers

There will be a lot of questions that need to be answered by kickoff in Week 1 for the Denver Broncos in 2019, but one of the biggest for fantasy owners will be who to trust at wide receiver. Emmanuel Sanders could still be a Bronco next season, but a lot will depend on his rehab after tearing his Achilles a few weeks ago. With or without Sanders, the Broncos will have some good young receivers in Daesean Hamilton, Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. Which one will separate himself as fantasy owner favorite though?

Patrick has done a much better job of establishing himself since the Sanders injury and Hamilton has been a favorite in PPR leagues so far after taking over in the slot. Sutton has the draft pedigree and college stats to back up hype but hasn’t done much to excite owners this season. The three will get one more shot in 2018 to leave an impression on us against the Chargers, who have given up less than 20 points per game to opposing wide receivers this season. If the Broncos move forward with Case Keenum at quarterback, it may be difficult to be excited for any of these guys next year. I expect John Elway to fix that for us though.

Chris Herndon IV (TE, NYJ)

Considering how awful this season was for tight ends, it’s hard to imagine how a guy like Chris Herndon was a waiver wire favorite of mine all season long. It took a few weeks to get going, but Herndon established himself as a legit TE1 option for fantasy owners with three straight touchdown games starting in Week 6. From that point on, Herndon was the TE7 in PPR leagues. The Jets will be at New England in Week 17 who are giving up just over eight points per game to opposing tight ends. Sam Darnold has been playing much better lately and Robby Anderson is hot again. Herndon should have another successful week.

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