Ian Allan answers your fantasy football questions. In this edition: Ranking the rookies for the 2018 season. Gauging impact of the new helmet rule. Is Fantasy Index missing the boat on Dalvin Cook and Joe Mixon? And a late plea for Geronimo Allison.

Question 1

Long, long time subscriber and typically do very well in our league, now in it 31st year with same commish and most of the original guys from 31 years ago. We have a deep draft (24 rounds) so I like to take a few flyers on the rookies. Do you have a rookies only ranking?

David Huerkamp (Delta, CO)

I will leave quarterbacks and kickers out of it. Those are different positions. Looking at just RB-TE-WR, these would be a top 20 rookies for 2018 using standard scoring.

1RBNYGSaquon Barkley
2RBDENRoyce Freeman
3RBDETKerryon Johnson
4WRARIChristian Kirk
5WRATLCalvin Ridley
6WRDALMichael Gallup
7WRDENCourtland Sutton
8RBNESony Michel
9WRCHIAnthony Miller
10TEBALHayden Hurst
11RBSEARashaad Penny
12RBLARJohn Kelly
13WRNOTreQuan Smith
14RBARIChase Edmonds
15TEPHIDallas Goedert
16WRPITJames Washington
17RBCLENick Chubb
18WRCARD.J. Moore
19RBINDJordan Wilkins
20WRDENDaesean Hamilton

3 Comments | Add Comment

Question 2

I just bought the August 30 Cheat Sheet, and it seems to create more questions than answers, particularly among running backs. In the team write-ups, you seemingly glow about Hyde and Barber, but in the standard rankings , you have them ranked incredibly low while at the same time you downplay Mixon and Cook but rank them in the mid-teens. In fact, I'm not sure how you can justify about half of the guys you have between RB 8-20.I take that there is some buying 'sight unseen' as you say. Mixon hasn't done anything in preseason; neither has Cook. Barber and Hyde have been lights-out so far, Hyde blasted through the Eagles first-team unit like it was Swiss cheese. Barber has no competition for carries, at all.

Rob Dammers (Wellington, FL)

Perspective. Cook and Mixon will be among the first 15 running backs drafted. So when we discuss them, the question is whether it’s worth investing in them 10-15 running backs into a draft. I have pointed out that I have concerns about Mixon’s ability to get it done as a runner (but he’s going to be a good pass catcher). Cook hasn’t played much, so not as much to go on there. Todd Gurley didn’t play at all in the preseason, and I don’t hear anyone suggesting he should be removed from consideration in the first three rounds. Barber I like. He’s banging it hard and looks entrenched as a starter. To me, Barber and Royce Freeman look like the running backs who are pushing up into the top 20 at the position. With Hyde, I think there MIGHT be some serviceable games. He’s had a lot of really good games early in the season during his career. But I doubt that there will be staying power – lesser team, and they’ve got plenty of other backs. Hyde is more like Adrian Peterson – you take him and hope to get a few good games early, but you know you’re not getting a player who’ll be starting the majority of your games.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 3

I am looking at adding a 5th WR from this group: Geronimo Allison, Cordarrelle Patterson and John Brown. Who would you take?

Jim Venettis (Farmington, MI)

I definitely like Allison. I think he’s going to be Green Bay’s 2nd-best receiver. I think he’s better than Randall Cobb. He makes a lot of sense. I also like Brown. I think he’ll be the best wide receiver in Baltimore, and it seems like Joe Flacco is going to play the best ball of his career.

Add Comment

Question 4

Do you think the Helmet rule favors the runner or the defense? I could see runners finding it hard to adapt. Some habits will be hard to break.

Dann Brunebjerg (Glostrup)

I think that the big changes with helmets are coming in the future. For 2018, I think the intention is to introduce the concept and get fans, players and coaches used to it. But it will be in future years that they start calling it more and make it actually happen. Right now, I think they’re reluctant to call it – especially if it’s a runner. I saw Isaiah Crowell plow into a defensive back. Seemingly a textbook play, and there was no flag. And when the Ravens played at Indianapolis, I was wonder if Lamar Jackson was going to be the first quarterback flagged for lowering his head. He took on a defensive back, but there was again no call. In these early stages, I think the calls will tend to come when defensive backs are delivering big hits. With the offensive players, I think they won’t be making many of those calls until 2019 or 2020.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 5

Because a decision to stream defenses often begins when drafting, it would be helpful to get an earlier glimpse at your Week 1 projections than you customarily provide. I know it’s a lot more work, but earlier glimpses at each Fantasy Index Weekly rankings would be helpful as well.


Our big newsletter goes out on Wednesday morning (shortly after lunch time on the East Coast). We continue to revise and adjust, with the final rankings sent out at the end of the day on Friday. Generally we’re working on previewing games on Sun-Mon-Tues. On Tuesday morning each week, we released revised overall rankings. Inside that product is a paragraph on each team. It’s in that product – on Tuesday morning – where we’ll flag any defenses that look like good streaming candidates. A streaming defense candidate, I think, is a defense that’s modest enough in talent that it’s available in many leagues, but has a matchup that should make it more of a top-5 unit for the week.

Add Comment

Question 6

Thanks for all the Championships. My question is about Will Fuller's rankings. I'm not getting why he's ranked 25th for standard scoring, but 39th in PPR? Is the fall off that great? Seems most other long-ball receivers (T.Hill, 4-7; M.Jones, 17-20; Cooks, 29-36; J.Brown, 34-37) only fall a few spots in the rankings. Mahalo.

Christopher KEPLER (Makawao, HI)

Fuller is really explosive. He caught 7 TDs in the four games he played with Deshaun Watson last year. But he’s primarily a deep threat. He’s not heavily involved in terms of catching other passes. He probably won’t be a big part of their red zone offense. I actually like what I’ve seen from Bruce Ellington, and he might be as productive as Fuller on the short routes. Fuller started 10 games last year and averaged under 3 catches per game. Even with Watson, he was at only 3.3 catches per game. In PPR, you’ve got to keep those catches coming. It’s a point every time you catch a ball. Fuller isn’t as favorable in that kind of system.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 7

Over the last 5 years what is the accuracy percentage for kickers attempting FGs of 50 yards or more? It seems kickers overall have become more accurate and more successful at longer distances.


Agreed. Twenty years ago, kickers were hitting about 50 percent of their attempts from 50-plus. Now they’re closing in on 70 percent from that range. They’re attempting more of them, and they’re making more of them.


Add Comment

Question 8

What running back at Oakland sees the most benefit from the Raiders having to play from behind a lot?

Jon Croston (Leander, TX)

That’s a good point. If the Raiders are as bad as they appear to be, they might be in catchup mode in the second halves of a lot of games, running draws and utilizing dumpoff passes. Maybe Derek Carr can pile up some cheap stats. At running back, when they get into that type of offense, Marshawn Lynch becomes less viable. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington might fit better in that kind of system. They’re smaller, quicker backs. They’re similar backs, but Richard caught 10 passes in the preseason (Washington caught none). They both caught about 30 passes last year, with Richard averaging almost 4 more yards per catch.

Add Comment

Question 9

So many mags, including yours, have talked up Mack. Irsay claims he will have 1,500 yards. I was going to start Mack, but he is still not practicing. Is Mack a lost cause? This happen to me a couple years ago. I had the coveted and named starter for Chicago, only for a hamstring to cost him the start, he never got it back from Jordan Howard. I feel this is happening all over again with Mack.

Cal Hoskison (Houston, TX)

Who is Jordan Howard in your analogy? Jordan Wilkins? Same first name, I suppose, and both were selected in the fifth round. But I think it will be Mack. He returned to practice on Thursday, he’s shown he can make some big plays, and he’s a run-catch threat. I think you should give him some time to show whether he can play.

1 Comment | Add Comment

Question 10

16-team standard, start 2RB, only 2 bench spots. I have Gurley. Would you use a bench spot on John Kelly (handcuff) or Matt Breida (breakout potential)?

PAUL CHAWLA (Brookfield, WI)

I think eventually you’ll want to have Kelly on your bench as an insurance policy. But I think I would be willing to put that on hold for a week or two to bring in Breida for a look. Maybe he rips it up pretty good early in the season, setting you up to make a trade. At the team’s official website right now, Breida is listed as their starting tailback.

Add Comment

Question 11

I've been reading since the late ‘90s and always enjoy your product. I noticed that this season, for my league's settings the Jaguars D/ST was worth twice as much as the #2 Rams ($13 vs. $7). I've never seen such a disparity and made sure to get the Jags in my auction. Is this as unusual as it seems, and what accounts for that big disparity?

Francis Warner (Little Egg Harbor Twp, NJ)

In a general sense, they seem to be similar. They’re both good defenses. But let’s look at the numbers we have projected for them. Andy Richardson does the defensive projections around here, and every 10 days or so, I’ll go through and suggest changes and argue that a team is too high or too low. For sacks, we’ve got Jaguars 47-45. For interceptions, Jaguars 18.5-17. Fumbles, Jaguars 12.5-10. Touchdowns (including special teams): Rams 4.60-4.45. All of those numbers are pretty similar. It’s in points allowed where Jacksonville is better, allowing only 17.0 per game (versus 20.6 for the Rams). With the Jaguars projecting to be worth more in your league, I would guess your scoring system incorporates credit for defenses getting bonuses for not allowing many points.

Add Comment

Question 12

Long-time subscriber here. I have a question about your choice of headlines in your magazine. Specifically, the experts poll for WRs on page 40 says "Favorite WR Brown hears footsteps from Hopkins". An attention grabber for sure. As they say in the NFL... "upon further review" Antonio Brown got 18 1st place votes with Hopkins only getting 2. My math tells me that's 90% for Brown and 10% for Hopkins. Is that really "hearing footsteps"?

Bill Mason (Huntersville, NC)

Fair enough. I interviewed most of the guys in the poll. Many of them were asked whether they saw much difference between Brown and Hopkins, and the usual response was that they were pretty similar. If you look at the overall portion of the poll, only 35 percent (7 of 20) put more than 2 players between Brown and Hopkins.

Add Comment

Question 13

I'm in a league that awards 1 point per 25 rush/rec yards, and 1 point for 75 passing yards. Should I draft from the Standard Scoring or TD-Only given, or is this scoring is something up-the-middle?

KEN BRISSA (Scottsdale, AZ)

Definitely somewhere between the two. If you want to see how are rankings would look for such a scoring system, using the custom rankings feature at the website. (Pull down on “Your Stuff”, the click on “Edit your scoring profiles.”)

Add Comment

Question 14

Our rookie draft is tonight. How has the preseason affected your dynasty rankings for the rookies?

David Livingston (Shawnee, KS)

They were thoroughly changed, like always. Ronald Jones was the biggest mover. Entering training camp, I was expecting he would be their starter. But after a remarkably awful preseason (which including averaging under 1 yard per carry) I don’t think he’ll even be their backup anytime soon. We do the revised draft boards all through August. In the Monday version, we have team notes and revised 2018 projections. In the Thursday version, we fully update the dynasty lists for QB, RB, TE and WR (with the rookies flagged with black dots).

Add Comment

Question 15

This is my first year where I will be streaming the QB position. Cousins & Ben. In the past, I generally shied away from streaming my lower-tiered guys and always went with the higher-ranked player regardless of matchup. My question is, if you look at (ie) Stafford's stats vs the top 8 football defenses he played and compared it to the stats of (ie) Manning vs bottom 8 defenses he played, does it work out? Does opponent really matter and Manning vs bad D is superior? I feel like, for example, that against the crap defense the team is up early and then runs the ball so the QB does nothing or against a top D the QB ends up needing to chuck the ball and racks up points etc. (Notice I said defense and not fantasy defense, obviously in hindsight the worst fantasy D for QB will have the best numbers for QB.)

Yaesha Newman ()

I don’t have time today to put together a study on this one, but there are definitely defenses you want to avoid and defenses that can be exploited. If I were to be starting a quarterback against the Jaguars or Rams, for example, it would have to be a quarterback I have a lot of confidence in. I want to put a guy on the field where it’s pretty likely he’ll throw multiple touchdowns, and that’s hard to do against some of the tough defenses.

5 Comments | Add Comment