Our New Keeper Korner Features Your Questions, Our Answers and Player Scouting Reports and Recommendations
Now that the 2018 Fantasy Football season is over, many owners have turned their attention to the offseason, and keeper decisions. Your deadline likely is not yet imminent in most leagues as you read this, so that gives you a lot of time to wrestle with those tough decisions. We will be here to help regularly.
Many owners will have to decide on two to three keepers overall, and others may have the opportunity to keep more or less. Many leagues attach a specific round to keepers which makes the selections even more of a challenge. We still have the NFL Draft and free agency coming, and a lot of leagues require their keepers to be submitted closer to summer draft time. So you have a few months in many cases to make decisions. You can see how the upcoming NFL Draft affects certain players and where many key veterans will land in free agency.
But it’s never too early to start considering the final calls no matter what the deadline is. In fact, many owners start thinking about their keepers as soon as their 2018 Fantasy seasons end, sometimes even before it’s over. Many of you are already struggling with some roster items, so we’re here to make it easier on you.
First, I want to encourage you to use this space as a vehicle for you to get your questions personally answered. Just follow me on Twitter @scotteRotoEx and ask any keeper questions you may have. I’ll answer them here regularly.
Our goal here will be mainly to focus on players who are possibly pushing you into tough decisions, not the ones that are obvious keepers. I don’t have to waste space on Ezekiel Elliott or Julio Jones. Plus, whenever possible, I will point out some of some of my preferred strategies and thought processes.
I have my own personal rule that I often use when trying to make a tight call between similarly valued players. I like to stock one player as an “anchor” at each position before I move onto filling the next position. The two most important positions to start with here are at RB and WR. I want an “anchor” or a RB1 or WR1 spot filled before I move onto getting a second player at each position. If a have a RB1 that I definitely want to keep already, then in a close keeper decision, I am not going to keep a second RB when I do not have a WR1 spot filled yet.
That is just a loose guideline, though. Nothing is absolute in Fantasy Football and it’s just to serve as a marker for tougher decisions when keepers are not attached to rounds. Plus, other factors at other positions will come into play. But if you can only keep two to three guys, it’s a helpful way to start making your decisions.
Here’s the first keeper question for this new column:
Auction/Keeper League – Sam Darnold for $1 ($100 cap). Is he QB1 heading into 2019?
— Mike (@MikeDCtown) January 23, 2019
Keeper Korner Answer: Thanks for the question Mike. As far as Darnold being your QB1 for next year, I highly doubt that you’ll be able him to consider him anywhere near a Top 12 guy yet. He didn’t even finish in the Top 25 in his rookie season. He did have two 20-plus point games in Weeks 15 and 16, and that was certainly encouraging. Darnold had 17 TD passes and 13 INTs in 13 games, so he has to make a lot of progress before he can even be considered as a high-end QB2. He is promising in terms of his willingness to make tough throws and he showed a lot of potential to spark the offense at times. But he is also mistake-prone and erratic. The Jets need to support him with a better running attack and at least another playmaker in the passing game. But at just one dollar in that sort of cap space it’s very easy to keep him and wait for him to start blossoming more, almost treating it like a dynasty decision. I would use the dollar and keep your expectations lowered for now, but consider it an investment for the future.
This question is from Facebook, courtesy of T.J. Frazee. I will accept questions on there as well if you are in the RotoExperts Group: “Brandin Cooks (fifth round) Kareem Hunt (12th), Marlon Mack (11th), James Conner (final round) in a 10-team PPR. Thoughts? Can Keep two.”
It’s too hazy to recommend Hunt at this point, but if he lands a starting job somewhere else that is firm, I would lean to him. Otherwise, Mack is a solid RB2 choice in the 11th. I really like the one-two combo at RB there.
Keeper Korner Answer: Conner is the obvious answer. He is going to enter 2019 as an RB1 and you only have to sacrifice a final round choice for him.
From Ronald Gryga: “Who would you keep? We can keep four without penalty indefinitely: Barkley, Zeke, Bell, Aaron Jones, JuJu, Cooper, Luck, Brady. It’s non-PPR and 6 points per TD.”
Keeper Korner Answer: Barkley and Elliott are must-keeps, as both are Top 3 overall heading into next year. I would then want Smith-Schuster as my WR1 with Antonio Brown expected to leave Pittsburgh. Now I already have my “anchors” at RB and WR. Then it comes down to Bell and Luck, who is more valuable at six points for a TD pass. My personal rule tells me I need the QB, but that rule applies to RB vs. WR more. I cannot pass on Bell as a potential flex player. I’d keep Barkley, Elliott, Bell and Smith-Schuster.
Send me more questions on social media any time. Now onto our Keeper Korner Player Spotlight for this week.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
This was a breakout season for Lockett, who managed to stay healthy and play like the Seahawks envisioned when they drafted him in 2015. Lockett scored six times in his rookie season but did not produce as hoped over the next two campaigns. Then he busted out for 10 TD receptions in 2018 on 70 receptions, and finished with 965 yards this season.
Lockett finished as WR16 on ESPN with 222.4 PPR points, which put him in high-end WR2 territory. He had such a sharp connection with Russell Wilson, that the quarterback had a perfect passer rating when throwing to the WR (158.3). Even though opponents knew big-play tosses were coming to Lockett, he was frequently very productive in the spots when Wilson chose to go to him. Seattle was the most run-heavy team in the NFL, yet Lockett still challenged and burned secondaries when Seattle selectively went to him in the air.
The Seahawks don’t figure to veer away from their run-first game plan next season, as Pete Carroll likely believes that a rush-heavy approach combined with a good defense and an efficient QB was the path to his first championship. Wilson can try to carry an offense if needed but that is not what Seattle seems to want. So can Lockett continue to produce at such a level statistically if the Seahawks employ the same type of offensive approach?