Week 2 Rankings

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Photo via Sports Illustrated

QB

  1. Drew Brees (vs CLE)
  2. Patrick Mahomes (@ PIT)
  3. Ben Roethlisberger (vs KC)
  4. Alex Smith (vs IND)
  5. Russell Wilson (@ CHI)
  6. Tom Brady (@ JAX)
  7. Kirk Cousins (@ GB)
  8. Aaron Rodgers (vs MIN)
  9. DeShaun Watson (@ TEN)
  10. Jimmy Garappolo (vs DET)
  11. Philip Rivers (@ BUF)
  12. Andrew Luck (@ WAS)

RB

  1. Alvin Kamara (vs CLE)
  2. Todd Gurley (vs ARI)
  3. Melvin Gordon (@ BUF)
  4. James Connor (vs KC)
  5. Saquon Barkley (@ DAL)
  6. Dalvin Cook (@ GB)
  7. David Johnson (@ LAR)
  8. Joe Mixon (vs BAL) – Mixon out-snapped Gio 42-14, and out-touched him 22-2. Only Alfred Morris had more carries inside the 5 in Week 1.
  9. Ezekiel Elliott (vs NYG)
  10. Jordan Howard (vs SEA)
  11. Kareem Hunt (@ PIT)
  12. Christian McCaffrey (@ ATL)
  13. Dion Lewis (vs HOU)
  14. Lamar Miller (@ TEN)
  15. Adrian Peterson (vs IND)
  16. Carlos Hyde (@ NO)
  17. Alex Collins (vs CIN) – Fresh legs after receiving only eight touches in a blowout against the Bills. No LB Vontaze Burfict is a plus, but the Bengals have a stout run defense.
  18. Kenyan Drake (@ NYJ)
  19. Devonta Freeman (vs CAR)
  20. Jay Ajayi (@ TB)
  21. Leonard Fournette (vs NE)
  22. James White (@ JAX)
  23. Alfred Morris (vs DET)
  24. Chris Thompson (vs IND)
  25. Peyton Barber (vs PHI)
  26. LeSean McCoy (vs LAC)
  27. Chris Carson (@ CHI)
  28. Jamaal Williams (vs MIN)
  29. Isaiah Crowell (vs MIA)
  30. Bilal Powell (vs MIA)
  31. Royce Freeman (vs OAK)
  32. Tevin Coleman (vs CAR)
  33. TJ Yeldon (vs NE)
  34. Derrick Henry (vs HOU)
  35. Rex Burkhead (@ JAX) 
  36. Jordan Wilkins (@ WAS)
  37. Phillip Lindsey (vs OAK)
  38. Marshawn Lynch (@ DEN)
  39. Matt Breida (vs DET)
  40. Austin Ekeler (@ BUF)
  41. Kerryon Johnson (@ SF)
  42. Duke Johnson (@ NO)
  43. Tarik Cohen (vs SEA)
  44. Frank Gore (@ NYJ)
  45. Javorius Allen (@ CIN) – Secure passing down role with sneaky touchdown upside. The Bengals gave up the third-most receptions to running backs in Week 1.
  46. Rashaad Penny (@ CHI)
  47. Jalen Richard (@ DEN)
  48. Latavius Murray (@ GB)

WR

  1. Antonio Brown (vs KC) 
  2. Julio Jones (vs CAR)
  3. Michael Thomas (vs CLE)
  4. Tyreek Hill (@ PIT)
  5. Odell Beckham (@ DAL)
  6. Keenan Allen (@ BUF)
  7. DeAndre Hopkins (@ TEN)
  8. Adam Thielen (@ GB)
  9. Stefon Diggs (@ GB)
  10. AJ Green (vs BAL) – The Ravens defense looked daunting against the Bills, but so would I. No Jimmy Smith is a huge boost for Green in a matchup where he should see 10+ targets.
  11. Emmanuel Sanders (vs OAK)
  12. Mike Evans (vs PHI)
  13. JuJu Smith-Schuster (vs KC)
  14. Jarvis Landry (@ NO)
  15. Larry Fitzgerald (@ LAR)
  16. Davante Adams (vs MIN) 
  17. Golden Tate (@ SF)
  18. TY Hilton (@ WAS)
  19. Randall Cobb (vs MIN)
  20. Chris Hogan (@ JAX)
  21. Kenny Stills (@ NYJ)
  22. Allen Robinson (vs SEA)
  23. Brandin Cooks (vs ARI)
  24. Nelson Agholor (@ TB)
  25. Demaryius Thomas (vs OAK)
  26. Josh Gordon (@ NO)
  27. Corey Davis (vs HOU)
  28. Marvin Jones (@ SF)
  29. Amari Cooper (@ DEN)
  30. Quincy Enunwa (vs MIA)
  31. Tyler Lockett (@ CHI)
  32. Jamison Crowder (vs IND)
  33. Cooper Kupp (vs ARI)
  34. Robert Woods (vs ARI)
  35. John Brown (vs CIN) – Locked in as Baltimores number-one option, and led the team in redzone targets.
  36. Kenny Golladay (@ SF)
  37. Robby Anderson (vs MIA)
  38. Keelan Cole (vs NE)
  39. Danny Amendola (@ NYJ)
  40. Dante Pettis (vs DET)
  41. Cole Beasley (vs NYG)
  42. Ryan Grant (@ WAS)
  43. Sterling Shephard (@ DAL)
  44. Devin Funchess (@ ATL)
  45. Brandon Marshall (@ CHI)
  46. Mike Williams (@ BUF)
  47. Geronimo Allison (vs MIN)
  48. Jordy Nelson  (@ DEN)
  49. Pierre Garcon (vs DET)
  50. Chris Godwin (vs PHI)
  51. Tre’Quan Smith (vs CLE)
  52. Sammy Watkins (@ PIT)
  53. Dede Westbrooks (vs NE)\
  54. Michael Crabtree (vs CIN) – Proved to still be an elite an elite redzone target in Week 1, but hasn’t cleared 60 yards in eight straight games, per Evan Silva.
  55. Courtland Sutton (vs OAK)
  56. Phillip Dorsett (@ JAX)
  57. Paul Richardson (vs IND)
  58. Bruce Ellington (@ TEN)
  59. Allen Hurns (vs NYG)
  60. Mohammed Sanu (vs CAR)

TE

  1. Rob Gronkowski (@ JAX)
  2. Zach Ertz (@TB)
  3. Travis Kelce (@ PIT)
  4. George Kittle (vs DET)
  5. Jordan Reed (vs IND)
  6. Trey Burton (vs SEA)
  7. Jared Cook (@ DEN)
  8. Evan Engram (@ DAL)
  9. Jack Doyle (@ WAS)
  10. Tyler Eifert (vs BAL) – Eifert will only be used on passing downs, but is always a great bet to score.
  11. Jimmy Graham (vs MIN)
  12. Kyle Rudolph (@ GB)
  13. Ricky Seals-Jones (@ LAR)
  14. Nick Boyle (@ CIN) – Led all Ravens tight ends with a 66% snap rate, and six targets. No team is more generous to tight ends than the Bengals.
  15. Ben Watson (vs CLE)
  16. Austin Seferian-Jenkins (vs NE)
  17. Eric Ebron (@ WAS)
  18. Will Dissly (@ CHI)
  19. David Njoku (@ NO)
  20. Ian Thomas (@ ATL)
  21. OJ Howard (vs PHI)
  22. Jonnu Smith (vs HOU)
  23. Mike Gesicki  (@ NYJ)
  24. Jake Butt (vs OAK)

D/ST

  1. Chargers (@ BUF)
  2. Rams (vs ARI)
  3. Jets (vs MIA)
  4. Vikings (@ GB)
  5. Jaguars (vs NE)
  6. Bears (@ SEA)
  7. Saints (vs CLE)
  8. Eagles (@ TB)
  9. Broncos (vs OAK)
  10. Texans (@ TEN)
  11. Ravens (@ CIN)
  12. Panthers (@ ATL)

 

BRING BACK THE RAP SKIT

BRING BACK THE RAP SKIT

I think the title says it all. You can still find them out there, in the wild, sneaking into song intros and mixtapes every once in awhile, but the golden age of the rap skit has long passed, and I think that’s a shame.

I will readily admit, the worst rap skits were filler, distractions from the music and interruptions of musical flow and progression. The best were the opposite. The best rap skits worked in concert with an artist or groups music to create a more complete album.

Maybe the role of rap skits has been filled by widespread social media. Now, you’re only ever a few clicks away from knowing what your favorite rapper is like outside their music, what they talk about with their friends, what they think is funny. Hell, DJ Khaled’s entire short-lived snapchat career was basically a rap skit broken up into ten-second segments. Maybe the rap skit died with real rap beef. No beef, no need to take mid-album shots at your rivals, a la The Madd Rapper. Maybe playlists and singles killed the rap skit. As albums-full, unified listening experiences-die a long slow death at the hands of sharable, streamable playlists, there might not even be a place for skits anymore.

BUT I STILL SAY BRING THEM BACK.

I think Nas’s Illmatic loses something without “The Genesis.” Enter the 36 Chambers would be a completely different listening experience without “Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber” or the famous (infamous?) intro to “Method Man.” De La Soul’s 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising may not have left the indelible mark on hip-hop that it did without the weird, off-the-wall game show style skits throughout.

With how memetic pop culture has become in the last year or two, the rap skit could make a big comeback. If the internet can latch onto one good line or one good joke, they will beat it to death and a rapper can take that kind of publicity right to the bank. Childish Gambino released “Centipede” as an unannounced single not tied to any album. Half the song is a classic 90s type skit about selling drugs and making money, and that’s the half that the internet fixated on.

The video for Chance the Rapper’s song “NaNa” has a scene with him, Hannibal Buress, and Donald Glover sitting around eating pizza and riffing and you’re lying if you don’t want that audio in the middle of Chance’s next mixtape. There’s a reason Chance could host SNL this year without doubling as the musical guest.

And I guess that brings up an interesting point. Maybe rappers aren’t funny anymore. It could be true that they don’t have the charisma and flair for banter that groups used to. In the last six years, only two rappers have hosted SNL – Chance the Rapper this year, and Drake in 2016. It’s not the only measure of comedic chops out there, but there’s a correlation between live sketches and rap skits. So there’s a chance I’m off base here. The time of rap skits might truly be done.

I don’t think it is though. Rap music videos are maybe the most creative they’ve ever been, and they have a bigger audience than they’ve ever had. And many of these videos integrate rap skits, even if you wouldn’t necessarily think of them the same way you would if it was on an album. As parody concepts and higher concept narrative structures carve out a larger and larger space next to the “rap video stereotypes” of champagne and gold chains, the rap skit is slowly worming its way back into the public consciousness.

I’ll leave you with this: whatever your opinion on Lil Dicky is, “Professional Rapper feat. Snoop Dogg” has 68 million views on YouTube and that song has like two different skits built into it. Something about that is working, and it’s working well.

 

SO BRING IT BACK

 

A Love Letter to Cassell’s Hamburgers

As a real estate worker in Los Angeles, Al Cassell always felt a good lunch was so hard to find. In a city littered with places to eat, finding a reliable lunch option that featured quality ingredients at reasonable prices for the everyday worker was surprisingly difficult. In 1948, Al took matters into his own hands and opened Cassell’s Patio on Wilshire Blvd in Koreatown. His restaurant featured lunchtime items he loved, like cured hams, house-made tuna salad, and broiled burgers.

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Photo courtesy of Eater Los Angeles

Al was a stickler for fresh ingredients. He had his USDA-select beef flown in from Colorado, before a time when fresh meat delivery was hip. His tuna salad was crafted from slow-poached, wild-caught albacore loins in pickle juice that he mixed with his famous house-made mayo. Eventually moving to 6th Street, the innocent little burger shack with a salad bar blossomed into an LA classic, drawing lines that ate up an entire lunch break. Al Cassell had found his purpose in life serving people and for decades to come would deliver a product that lived up to the high standards to which he held himself. 

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The legendary Al Cassell. Photo courtesy of Serious Eats.

Like Al, the restaurant began to show signs of attrition in the 1990s. Well into his 80s, Al decided to finally hang up his apron after over 40 years of public service. Eventually, he sold the name of the restaurant and the equipment. After decades of success, generations of customers, and thousands of hours working that griddle, Alvin Cassell died in 2010, at the remarkable age of 98. In 2012, the restaurant closed once and for all.

Enter Jingbo Lou, a Pasadena-based architect, who has preserved a multitude of LA establishments such as Wilshire’s Morgan Adams Building and Whittier College’s Guillford Hall. In Cassell’s, Lou found a perfect compliment to his latest project, the Hotel Normandie. At the base of the hotel, on the corner of 6th and Normandie, Lou planned to revitalize the legendary burger chain on the very street where it found so much success.

The next logical step was to find someone willing to uphold the tradition of quality Al Cassell strived to maintain in the kitchen.  Lou found just that in Chef Christian Page, who rose to culinary fame running the kitchen at Short Order in the Original Fairfax Farmers Market. Like Lou, Page wanted the style of Al Cassell’s restaurant to remain the forefront of its revitalized successor. Although the new space feels hip, modern, and bright upon entering, it manages to infuse modern architectural design while upholding the essence of a traditional 1950s diner, accommodating the likes of all generations. The large glass windows invite customers to take a seat at the classic barstool-counter set up, surrounded by vintage signage and decals from the original joint. The open floor plan gives everyone the chance to watch the cooks craft the delicious burgers on Al Cassell’s famous original crossfire broiler, ground with the original grinder, and pattied with the original press. 

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Photo courtesy of Eater Los Angeles

Now… I have never written a love letter. I’ve composed a nice text—a thoughtful tweet maybe. People don’t sincerely dissect things they enjoy anymore, only things they hate (See: anything anyone has ever posted on Facebook).

Today is different. Today I am in love. And love makes you do crazy things like take up ballroom dancing, watch Grey’s Anatomy, or write a letter explaining why you feel the way you do about a restaurant.

I am in love with Cassell’s Hamburgers.

o

Let me just say, Cassell’s is not a Michelin star restaurant, it wasn’t on Netflix’s Chef’s Table, and Guy Fieri has not slobbered all over it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives YET. It’s a burger/pie joint in Koreatown with 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp. Although renowned chef David Chang DOES say their patty melts “are the fucking best.” Just sayin’.

It’s so satisfying to say you have a favorite restaurant. Sure, it sounds a little pretentious to claim something is your favorite but it doesn’t matter because you now own that restaurant. Now, if a friend ever asks where they should grab a bite you have complete permission to blurt out, “We could go to Cassell’s, it has the BEST burgers, it’s my favorite restaurant.” People love that. It’s also a law in Los Angeles to have a favorite restaurant (can’t be a chain), and you should be able to list at least three to five of your favorite farm-to-table organic eateries to avoid being viewed as a culture-less troglodyte. 

Cassell’s checks every box I yearn for in an enjoyable dining experience. Its menu offers many options, but not too many, as Al Cassell once said “the more things you do, the less chance there is at reaching perfection.” They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner (although most items on the menu live in the burger/sandwich/side realm), as well as alcohol and pies. The location is hiding in plain sight in an unassuming part of Koreatown. Grabbing a table never demands a 20-minute wait, yet the place is never empty. But most importantly, the food is fantastic. My personal favorite order is a patty melt on rye bread with Swiss cheese (which is melted in a way only Jesus and Christian Page know), with a side of sweet potato waffle fries (the onion rings come in a close 2nd), and a slice of dulce de leche banana cream pie to top it off.

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Sometimes, it’s the subtleties that push a meal from good to great to extraordinary. Cassell’s utilizes the subtleties in meals that most restaurants overlook and morphs them into a key player of the dish. Whether it is the multitude of house-made sauces that complement the sandwiches and sides, the grilled cheese chip that accompanies each patty melt or the perfectly crumbly graham cracker crust that lines the trays of the delicious custard pies. I cannot stress how consistent this meal is across the board.o-1.jpg And I know what you’re thinking, “Cool, you’ve had the same thing four times.” Wrong! I have tried the tuna salad, the classic cheeseburger, the fried chicken sandwich, the potato salad, beer battered onion rings, the classic kennebec fries, as well as the blackberry vanilla, classic apple, and lemon meringue pies. They all pass with flying colors. My next target is their breakfast which by the looks of it captures the essence of a traditional New York diner. However, much like the decor and architecture of Cassell’s, the menu applies a few modern twists to a conventional breakfast category–a burger with hash browns instead of buns being one. Overall, the biggest surprise of the experience after my visit was the pies. I am admittedly an outspoken pie evangelist and will preach its rightful seat atop the throne of dessert until I die. AND DAMN THESE PIES ARE THE HOLY LORD’S BLESSING.

The pies are homemade by Page’s wife, chef Elia Aboumrad (you may know her from season two of Top Chef). Also, the charmingly retro rotating pie case that catches your eye as you walk by was found in a storage container by none other than Aboumrad herself.

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To this day, Cassell’s is alive and well, resting below Hotel Normandie, coaxing passerby’s to drop in for a juicy broiled burger, fries, and a beer for just $15 (between 4-7pm)! The burgers are still ground daily using chuck and brisket from Colorado farms; potato salad is still a natural side for every burger; and Page himself is still whipping up batches of mayonnaise in the back, along with house-made soda, chips, and of course, those pies.

There’s something in the air at Cassell’s Hamburgers.

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Week 1 Rankings

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Photo via USA Today

QB

1. Aaron Rodgers – He’s Aaron Rodgers.

2. Tom Brady – Torched the Texans last season to the tune of 378 yards and five touchdowns. Should be shootout with DeShaun Watson.

 

3. DeShaun Watson – Didn’t have Will Fuller the last time he played New England, and still dropped 341 total yards and two touchdowns.

 

4. Drew Brees – New Orleans will have their way with Tampa Bay, and no CB Brent Grimes is only insult to injury.

5. Cam Newton – Dallas’ defensive line will give the Panther’s injured line trouble, but his best supporting cast and rushing capabilities keep Cam a great play.

 

6. Matt Stafford – I think the Jets young defense will ascend this season, but Stafford will catch them at the right time with his most well-rounded cast yet.

 

7. Kirk Cousins – The Niners best pass defender is a 30-year-old coming off an Achilles’ injury.

 

8. Russell Wilson – I’m high on Wilson this year, but I’m not ready to rank him too high until he proves he can maintain his play with Doug Baldwin and…Jaron Brown?

 

9. Jared Goff – The Raiders secondary is composed of players way past their prime, with zero pass rush. Game script is the only thing holding back Goff.

 

10. Andy Dalton – The Bengals secretly have some of the best weapons in football. He’ll be throwing against a team that is relying on storebrand cornerbacks Pierre Desir and Kenny Moore

11. Philip Rivers – Going against one of the worst secondaries in football with an over/under of 48.5.

12. Ben Roethlisberger – Normally any quarterback going against the Browns pass D is a must-start, but the weather in Cleveland scares me.

RB

1. Todd Gurley – Todd Gurley will destroy the Raiders with receptions in the first half, and put them away by milking the clock in the second half. There’s a decent chance this is his best game of the season.

2. Alvin Kamara – Dropped 280 total yards and three touchdowns in two meetings last season. Essentially zero competition for workload.

 

 

3. Melvin Gordon – The Chiefs have one of the worst run defenses in football. Receiving usage will be boosted in a shootout.

 

4. David Johnson – Running will be tough going against a healthy Alabama duo of  Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne, but the offense will still run through DFJ, on the air or the ground.

 

5. Ezekiel Elliott – Gets a boost from LB Thomas Davis’ suspension, and 25+ touches a game make up for any injuries on the offensive line.

 

6. Leonard Fournette – Increased usage in the passing game + Giants signing horrible coverage linebacker Alec Ogletree x positive game script = potential to be the RB1 in Week 1.

 

7. Kareem Hunt – Per Evan Silva, the Chargers D yielded the 13th-most receptions to running backs last season.

8. Christian McCaffrey – Already looked like a league winner in the preseason, and the Cowboys allowed the sixth-most receptions to RBs last year.

9. Joe Mixon – The Colts were one the worst teams in football against running backs last year, a perfect catalyst to Mixon’s breakout year.

10. Saquon Barkley – This will be Barkley’s hardest matchup all year. Fresh legs and volume are the only things keeping him this high.

11. Alex Collins – Looking at the best game script of any back this week, and goes against a Bills run D that went to the shitter after trading away Marcell Dareus.

12. Jordan Howard – In what figures to be a shootout, we’ll finally get to see if Nagy’s talk of Howard’s increased passing game usage is the real thing or just smoke and mirrors.

13. LeSean McCoy – Volume trumps anything else going against McCoy this week, which is…everything.

14. Rex Burkhead – Will be used a ton in the passing against against a defense that’s returning JJ Watt and

15. Jamaal Williams – The Packers like to use one running back at a time, and right now Williams is the guy. Mack figures to be used sparingly.

16. Kenyan Drake – League-winning upside in the long term, but that’s if we know what the deal is with Frank Gore. That’s what this week is for.

17. Lamar Miller – Figures to be an every-down back with a ton of receiving upside against New England’s porous defense.

18. James Conner – DC Greg Williams sole goal is to stop the run, and while that may not be smart in terms of real football, it is an unfortunate obstacle for Conner’s first professional start.

19. Dalvin Cook – I think the Vikings will plan to ease Cook in with a 50/50 split to start the season. A lot of the offense should go through the air against the Niners.

20. Marshawn Lynch – The loss of Rams’ ILB Mark Barron is a good sign, but this game could get ugly quick.

21. Royce Freeman – While the timeshare with Booker hasn’t been great, Freeman has earned every right to get 65%+ of Denver’s backfield touches.

22. Derrick Henry – Figures to get out-snap Dion Lewis with positive gamescript.

23. Carlos Hyde – Has held off Nick Chubb so far, and figures to be the focal point of the Browns offense in a storm that might include 40+ MPH wind.

24. Adrian Peterson – Fresh legs running behind a healthy Redskins line. Will lose passing downs to Chris Thompson.

25. Chris Carson – Denver has an elite run defense that just added Bradley Chubb, but Carson is the only trustworthy back in Seattles backfield right now.

26. Peyton Barber – Should get the start, but is in danger of losing third-down touches to Jacquizz Rodgers.

27. Dion Lewis – Passing down back with early-down capabilities.

28. Chris Thompson – Will receive a ton of passing work, but might get eased in.

29. Kerryon Johnson – The Jets have a middling run defense, and Johnson is the most talented in this backfield. I just think it’s going to take some time before he gets the lions share (haha) of touches.

30. Jordan Wilkins – This is a dart throw. He’s the most talented of the bunch.

31. Bilal Powell – Preseason suggests he’ll be the Jets’ lead back. Preseason also suggests the Lions have a bottom-of-the-barrel run defense.

32. Alfred Morris – Not a sexy pick, but he’s the favorite to lead the Niners in carries. Just won’t be a great week against the Vikings spotless defense.

33. Matt Breida – Should get the change-of-pace role, may have earned a stronger role than suggested.

34. Duke Johnson – Gets knocked due to poor weather.

35. Giovani Bernard – Should get 7-10 touches.

36. James White – The healthiest player in the Patriots backfield. Dark horse to lead them in touches in Week 1.

37. Ty Montgomery – Supreme talent. Might be used as a passing down back.

38. Devontae Booker – Sub-par talent. Is the passing down back.

39. Tarik Cohen – Huge question mark heading into Week 1, but has Tyreek Hill upside.

40. Theo Riddick – Huge bump in full PPR.

42. Legarrette Blount – One of the best goal line backs in football.

43. CJ Anderson – Could steal a touchdown or two.

44. Javorius Allen – Solidified role as passing down back.

45. Frank Gore – What are you doing, Miami?

46. Doug Martin – Stinks.

47. Christine Michael – Not sure if he’s real.

48. Jeremy Hill – Bill hates your fantasy team.

WR

1. AJ Green – Tell me the name of one Colts cornerback. Until then, Green stays second to kick off the season. (Ignore my Andy Dalton post)

 

2. DeAndre Hopkins – Stephon Gilmore is looking like an elite corner, but any game with DeShaun Watson automatically puts Nuk in top-five territory.

 

3. Antonio Brown – No Le’Veon and HoF talent negate any concerns about weather.

 

4. Keenan Allen – The Chiefs will essentially trot out four slot cornerbacks in Week 1.

 

5. Michael Thomas – Vernon Hargreaves doesn’t stand a chance against Thomas and the Saints passing offense.

6. Stefon Diggs – Always a hot starter, and what better start than a cornerback who runs in quicksand?

 

7. Odell Beckham Jr. – The Jaguars defense is always scary, but a Jaylen Ramsey ankle injury helps Beckham’s outlook.

 

8. Adam Thielen – If you haven’t noticed, the Niners pass D is bad.

9. Davante Adams – The Bears D is ready for liftoff, but being Rodgers favorite target is matchup proof.

10. Larry Fitzgerald – Will be defended by something call a “Fabian Moreua.”

11. Chris Hogan – Expected to hog targets against a team he dropped 4/68/2 on last year.

12. Tyreek Hill – Hill’s speed paired with Mahomes’ arm essentially makes him an every-week WR1.

13. Doug Baldwin – Legitimately might get 15 targets. Knees and matchups be damned.

14. Brandin Cooks – Oakland’s lack of pass rush pairs perfectly with Cooks’ straight-line speed.  

15. TY Hilton – WIlliam Jackson III will be a well-known name by the end of the season. You better hope the Colts put TY in the slot.

16. Mike Evans – Has had nasty splits against the Saints, matched up on Lattimore, and Fitz is still a downgrade.

17. JuJu Smith-Schuster – Any and all players who catch or throw a football in this game receive a major downgrade.

18. Josh Gordon – Freakish upside who gets extra downside in storm. Reporter claims “I have not seen a worse weather forecast for a Browns game in the almost 16 years I have been here and that includes snow events”

19. Allen Robinson – I’m higher on the Packer’s corners than most, and Trubisky still needs to develop rapport with Robinson.

20. Amari Cooper – I’m afraid of all Raiders in this matchup, and Ryan Switzer taking Cooper out of the slot is a bummer.

21. Robert Woods  – Start. All. Rams.

22. Cooper Kupp – ^^^^

23. Emmanuel Sanders – Slot reps give Sanders the best matchup between him and Thomas.

24. Golden Tate – A matchup with Buster Skrine and sheer volume gives Tate the nod over Marvin Jones.

25. Marvin Jones – The Jets are secretly very talented on the outside.

26. Devin Funchess – Still the number one option out of Cam’s receivers, despite zero offseason buzz.

27. Demaryius Thomas – Figures to run against Shaq Griffin, which is a downgrade.

28. Jarvis Landry – A slot receiver against Pittsburgh’s zone defense is always a plus, but you know…wind.

29. Corey Davis – Mariota’s been a question mark in the preseason, and will go against ascending corner Xavien Howard.

30. Robby Anderson – Figures to match up with Darius Slay.

31. Jamison Crowder – Should avoid Patrick Peterson in the slot, but still don’t know Smith’s favorite target.

32. Randall Cobb – Rodger’s second favorite receiver. Yes, please.

33. John Brown – Has looked better than Crabtree this year, and is the healthiest he’s been in a while.

34. Michael Crabtree – Favorite for red zone targets.

35. Will Fuller – Upside is through the roof as long as he’s healthy…which he may not be.

36. Jordy Nelson – Still kinda iffy in this game, but a shootout is always possible.

37. Tyrell Williams – Underrated in every aspect heading into this season, Tyrell is a sneaky start this week.

38. Kenny Stills – Could be the Dolphins number-one option with no Devante Parker.

39. Rishard Matthews – Figures to benefit from no Xavien Howard.

40. Keelan Cole – Number-one option on a run-first team. Should lead the Jaguars in targets in Week 1.

41. Marquise Goodwin – Vikings will probably have the best defense in football this year.

42. Quincy Enunwa – Oversized slot receiver who may lead the Jets in targets this week.

43. John Ross – The Bengals offense will be on full display against the sieve-like Colts D.

44. Kelvin Benjamin – Literally SOMEONE has to catch a pass for the Bills.

45. Allen Hurns – Literally SOMEONE has to catch a pass for the Cowboys.

46. Sterling Shepard – Could benefit as the least-covered option on the Giants.

47. Dede Westbrook – Has the easiest matchup against B.W. Webb.

48. Ted Ginn – Always a threat for a big play and might be Saints second option.

49. Pierre Garcon – Not very high on Garcon in general, and coming back from a neck injury to face to the Vikings in Minnesota is an ugly welcome back.

50. Sammy Watkins – Zero connection with Mahomes in the preseason.

51. Kenny Golladay – Golladay games will come this season, but that is not this day!!!

52. Chris Godwin – Fitzpatrick is bad.

53. Donte Moncrief – Slow as hell but he scores touchdowns.

54. Phillip Dorsett – Someone else on the Patriots might catch a pass.

55. DeSean Jackson – Still fast.

56. Anthony Miller – Looked cool in the preseason.

57. Michael Gallup – Also looked cool in the preseason.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TE

1. Rob Gronkowski – Every game Gronk is healthy he is ranked first. Those are the rules.

*The Grand Canyon*

2. Travis Kelce – Doesn’t have a great history with the Chargers, but is one of the most talented tight ends in the league, so it doesn’t matter.

 

3. Jordan Reed – Will be a gamechanger before he goes to IR in Week 3.

 

4. Tyler Eifert – Will be a gamechanger before he goes to IR in Week 3.

 

5. Delanie Walker – Still Mariota’s favorite target.

 

6. Greg Olsen – Sean Lee is a concern, but still a safe pick.

 

7. Jimmy Graham – Ceiling is two touchdowns, floor is two targets.

 

8. Jack Doyle – Should absolutely dust Cincinnati. One of my favorite plays this week.

9. Trey Burton – Looked like Trubisky’s favorite target. Have you ever heard of the Philly Special?

10. Kyle Rudolph – Kirk Cousins loves his tight ends, and I’ll leave you to make a joke about that.

11. Evan Engram – Jaguars aren’t exactly forgiving to tight ends.

12. George Kittle – Vikings are so damn scary.

13. Austin Seferian-Jenkins – See “Ogletree, Alec.”

 

14. David Njoku – Have I mentioned the weather?

15. Charles Clay – Ravens are secretly susceptible to tight ends.

 

16. Ben Watson – Every Saint is going to get an opportunity.

 

17. Ricky Seals-Jones – Could be second on the Cardinals in targets.

 

18. Vance McDonald – If he’s healthy, no team is more giving to tight ends.

 

19. Jared Cook – Gruden loved Cook in the offseason.

 

20. OJ Howard – Talent is the only thing keeping him here.

 

21. Mike Gesicki – Rookie tight ends are slow to start, but Gesicki could be a TE1 by season’s end.

 

22. Antonio Gates – Red zone target, but he’ll have some rust to shake off.

23. Cameron Brate – He’s, ya know…there.

24. Eric Ebron – Eh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

D/ST

1. Ravens

2. Saints

3. Rams

4. Jaguars

5. Chargers

6. Vikings

7. Lions

8. Broncos

9. Packers

10. Titans

11. Bengals

12. Panthers

 

Chris & Craig’s Fantasy Football Sleeper Lineups

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A top-101 is great, but leagues can be won at the end of the draft. Craig and I each made our own sleeper lineups consisting of players being drafted in the 12th round or later. We didn’t necessarily go for the “best” players, but those who are a little more exciting with decent room for upside, who you can either get in the last few rounds, or even off your waiver wire

CHRIS

QBBlake Bortles – Bortles has been a top-12 QB every year outside of his rookie season. Since coming into the league, only Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, and Tyrod Taylor have more rushing yards. Also, what’s funnier than winning with Blake Bortles?

RBJordan Wilkins – With Marlon Mack sidelined, Nyheim Hines rubbing butter on his hands before games, Robert Turbin eating steroids, and Christine Michael possibly being a figment of our imagination, Wilkins can runaway with the starting job.

RBJonathan Williams – Looking like the favorite to fill in the Mark Ingram role in Weeks 1-4. It was only last season that Willie Snead barely received one target a game when he returned from suspension, so Williams could hold on to this job.

WRTyrell Williams – A catch-radius freak according to PlayerProfiler, Williams has a decent chance to lead the Chargers in touchdowns.

WR Chris Godwin – A SPARQ stud and Twitter favorite who figures to see a lot of outside work this season, we might finally get our Chris Godwin Breakout Year. Dirk Koetter’s inability to recognize talent could be his biggest obstacle.

WRCourtland Sutton – Courtland Sutton is Demaryius Thomas 2.0, while Demaryius Thomas is turning into Demaryius Thomas 0.5. Get’s a huge boost if Chad Kelly takes over.

TEAustin Seferian-Jenkins – Just turning 26 this year, Seferian-Jenkins has a chance to put it all together in a Jacksonville receiving core that doesn’t have a main receiver. Ceiling is Tyler Eifert, but healthy.

FLEXAustin Ekeler – Started stealing a decent number of touches from Melvin Gordon in 2017 before going down with an injury. Could be Rivers’ new Danny Woodhead.

 

CRAIG

QBAlex Smith – Last year’s QB4 just came to an offense that produced back-to-back QB5 performances out of Kirk Cousins. Currently getting drafted as the QB18.

RB – TJ Yeldon – In the three games Yeldon played without Fournette, he carried the ball 27 times for 190 yards (7.03 ypc) with eight catches for 51 yards. Elite handcuff.

RB – Jeremy Hill – Currently healthy and capability around the goal line are the two reasons why Jeremy Hill could be this years “randomly finishes as the RB11” Patriots running back.

WR – James Washington – In typical Pittsburgh fashion, Washington is among the long list of young WRs who have excelled immediately. Has already secured the third WR spot with Martavis gone.

WR – Mike Williams – The injury to Hunter Henry makes Williams the next man up for red zone target vacuum. After in an injury-riddled rookie season, the 2017 seventh overall draft pick looks great this preseason.

WRMichael Gallup – Someone has to catches passes in Dallas, amiright?? Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, and Cole Beasley are the least intimidating competition in the league for the highly talented Gallup.

TERicky Seals-Jones – Per fantasypros.com, every tight end who has played with Sam Bradford, except for Brent Celek, has never had a better season in terms of receptions or yards before or after their season with a healthy Bradford.

FLEX  – WR John Ross – The last three seasons in Cincinnati, the #2 WR (Marvin Jones/Brandon Lafell) has averaged 60-742-4. Both are out of the picture, giving John Ross the opportunity to take over. He’s very fast.