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Sunday, January 7, 2018

2018 FANTASY FOOTBALL TAKEAWAY: WILD CARD SATURDAY

The underdogs ruled the action on Saturday as both the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons won on the road.  There were also some fantasy football-related items that need to be discussed in looking ahead to 2018 as well.

-Get ready for Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry being a second round pick in fantasy football drafts next summer.  It was obvious to anyone who saw him hobble through the year that DeMarco Murray is finished as a primary runner and so Henry will be the bellcow back for the Titans next season upon first glance.  The former Heisman Trophy winner has earned the nod after rushing for 156 yards and a score on 21 carries in the team's upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs and so on opportunity alone, a second-round grade is warranted.  Of course Henry is not as valuable in PPR since he is not a natural receiver and overall think Michael Turner here as the former Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowler for years was a first or second-round pick based almost solely on rushing.  Henry can hit double-digits in touchdowns next season in his starter's role and so his stock is clearly moving upwards.

-With the Chiefs having gagged away the game at home versus Tennessee, it is likely the Alex Smith era is over.  While this is pretty unfair given how good of a season Smith had, the Chiefs are ready to unleash the cannon-armed Patrick Mahomes next season.  Yes Smith is aging a bit as he moves toward his mid-30's but we have seen at quarterback that players can move closer to 40 while still putting up numbers. 

The takeaway here is that the Chiefs passing game may struggle a bit early on next season given the growing pains Mahomes is facing.  That means emerging wideout Tyreek Hill may see a slight dip in numbers at least initially but tight end Travis Kelce should continue to see big-time targets since young QB's tend to rely on their tight ends.  As far as Smith is concerned, he could end up on the Denver Broncos or New York Jets but his status as a better real-life QB than a fantasy football one remains true.

-Once again the Atlanta Falcons offense couldn't get into the end zone Saturday night despite upsetting the Los Angeles Rams and if Steve Sarkisian is somehow back with the team next season, you can't possibly rely on QB Matt Ryan as anything but in two-QB formats.  Also Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman can still work in tandem and both put up useful fantasy football numbers. 

-Despite his rough game, I am very high on QB Jared Goff for 2018 fantasy football and this comes from someone who was a big critic of his initially.  Goff has really taken off this season and the Sean McVay offense is very fantasy football-friendly as we have seen.  The best part is that Goff will come relatively cheap compared to other QB's and so he is a great target for those who choose to wait on picking their passer. 


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