Are you a Alabama Crimson Tide fan? ROLL TIDE! Fortunately, not only does Scout Fantasy Sports provide NFL team specific outlooks, but we also produce content for all you College Football fans following your favorite players from your favorite school!
Senior Fantasy Football Expert Shawn Childs breaks down and forecasts the top players from the biggest colleges in the nation! In this edition, he takes a look at Amari Cooper, Julio Jones, Mark Ingram and many more of your favorite Crimson Tide Fantasy players! Stay tuned for more College Football Player Breakdowns!
WR Amari Cooper – The Cooper train ran off the tracks in 2017 after two strong seasons (72/1070/6 and 83/1153/5) to start his NFL career. Amari caught only 48 of his 96 targets last year with 680 yards and seven TDs, which was about a 25 percent drop in opportunity. After a slow start in Week 1 (5/62/1) and Week 2 (4/33), Cooper barely has a pulse over his next three games (four combined catches for 23 yards). Just when Fantasy owners had him dead and buried on the bench in Week 7, Amari exploded for 11 catches for 210 yards and two TDs on 19 targets. In essence, Cooper scored more points in one game than his first six weeks (44.0 to 38.6 Fantasy points). Over his last ten games of the year, he only had one game of value (3/115/1) with emptiness from Week 12 to Week 15 (1/9/1 on two targets). Cooper battled a knee and an ankle injury over the year. A Fantasy owner needs to write off last year. In 2015 and 2016, Amari finished 21st and 15th in WR scoring in PPR leagues. As bad as he was last year, he was the 36th highest scoring WR. Excellent WR3 if Cooper is overlooked on draft day. Possible 80+ catches for 1,200+ yards with six to eight TDs.
WR Julio Jones – Many Fantasy owners have grown tired of Jones’s inability to produce impact TDs over the last two years (6 and 3) while seeing his final catch total fall below expected value in 2016 (83) and 2017 (88). His resume is much stronger than Keenan Allen, but the continued limps off the field tends to be a turn-off. Over the last four years covering 61 games, Julio has 411 catches for 5,048 yards and 23 TDs on 643 targets highlighted by his 2015 season (136/1871/8). In 2017, Jones only had four games with over 100 yards receiving and two games with more than seven catches (9/99/1 and 12/253/2). The Falcons have run the ball better over the last two seasons, and they continue to struggle to get Julio scoring chances at the goal line. There’s no doubt Jones will have his lowest draft value in years. He has the talent to be the best WR in the game, but he needs to stay healthy, and the Falcons need to throw him the damn ball especially in the end zone. Sometimes in Fantasy sports the player overlooked tend to produce the best results. A Fantasy owner drafted at the end of the first round should be extremely happy to land Julio as his overall skill set, and opportunity should outproduce his draft value if he stays healthy all year. The most important part of his summer will his holdout. If Jones misses training camp, I do fear some in-season injuries from not being in game shape. His floor should be 90+ catches for 1,400 yards and six to eight TDs. The current structure of the Falcons’ offense and passing game does limit his upside in targets in many games.
RB Mark Ingram – Over the last two years, Ingram played his best ball of his career leading to over 1,000 rushing in each year (1,043 and 1,124) with 2,902 combined yards with 22 TDs and 104 catches. Over this span, Mark averaged 5.0 yards per rush less explosiveness in the passing game (7.1 yards per catch). Last year Ingram averaged 18.0 touches per game. He finished with four games with over 100 yards rushing and two other games with over 100 combined yards. Over the first four games of the year, he averaged just over 14 touches per game with Adrian Peterson on the roster. This year Mark will miss four games due to a failed drug test. Any missed time will lead to a huge opening for Alvin Kamara to shine. I’m going to lower his touches to 15 per game, which comes to 180 over 12 games. I expect 1,000 combined yards with about 40 catches and six to eight TDs. Ingram is still a viable RB2 in PPR leagues especially if he’s missed priced in drafts.
RB Derrick Henry – After chasing Henry around as the upside RB over the last two seasons, Fantasy owners now have an opportunity to ride this exciting RB to a winning season. Despite expecting a considerable bump in touches and high value in TDs, many Fantasy owners may trust issues with 2018 Fantasy value for Derrick with Dion Lewis to the Titans’ roster. In 2017, Henry had 187 touches for 880 yards with Six TDs and 11 catches. He finished two games with over 100 yards rushing (19/131/1 and 11/109/1). In his only game with the whole show at RB in Week 17, Derrick delivered 117 combined yards with a TD and one catch while receiving 29 touches. Last year the Titans’ RBs had 383 rushes for 1,521 yards and 13 TDs plus 50 catches for 402 yards and two TDs on 66 targets. There is no doubt that Henry will receive 300+ touches in 2018 leading to about 1,500 combined yards. I expect double digit TDs with about 25 catches. Derrick is a power runner who will be better with a high volume of touches. Excellent upside RB2 with huge upside if he gets the whole show for the Titans.
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RB Kenyan Drake – Fantasy owners will be intrigued by the finished of Drake in 2017 after Miami traded Jay Ajayi to the Eagles. Over five starts, Kenyan posted 594 combined yards with two TDs and 17 catches on 108 combined touches. He averaged 21.6 touches per game as a starter with about 119 yards per game. His best value came in Week 13 vs. the Patriots (193 combined yards with five catches). Miami did bring in Frank Gore to compete for some playing time, which will lead to Drake falling to the 3/4 turn in most 12-team PPR leagues. In his college career, Kenyan was never a full time back creating a window of doubt for Fantasy owners this draft season. The Dolphins tried to add a power type RB back in this year’s draft as well. Last season Miami only attempted 22.5 rushing attempts per game with only four rushing TDs. Their RBs caught 70 of 100 passes for 491 yards and two TDs. Upside player for sure, but his final 2018 draft value will be fluid until Fantasy owners see how the Dolphins use the RBs in 2018. I’ll set his bar at 200 rushes for about 900 yards plus about 50 catches and another 350+ yards with a handful of TDs. Drake projects as a 200+ Fantasy point RB in PPR leagues.
WR Calvin Ridley – Ridley has a strange resume over three seasons at Alabama. His best season came in his rookie year in 2015 (89/1045/7) when he worked almost like a possession type WR based on his yards per catch (11.7). The next season Calvin saw his catches (72), receiving yards (769), and yard per catch (10.7) regress while scoring eight TDs. In 2017, he turned more into a big play WR (63/967/5) while gaining 15.3 yards per catch. His presence should be a big win for Julio Jones as the deep safety will need to respect Ridley in the deep passing. His route running and separation skill will lead to instant success at the next level. Calvin comes with a smooth glide in the open field with a gear to blow by defenders with or without the ball. In a way, he’s the missing link from the Falcons’ passing game in 2017. Atlanta will get him easy catches on crossing patterns while trusting his route running on outs. He’ll offer the same value to the Falcons’ passing game as DeSean Jackson did early in his career for the Eagles. An excellent chance at 1,000+ yards with 65+ catches and five to seven TDs. I’d rather draft him as a WR4 in PPR leagues. His success could push Matt Ryan to career-high levels in passing yards.
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TE O.J. Howard – Alabama didn’t need Howard to win games, and they weren’t a high profile passing attack. O.J. caught 83 passes for 1,197 yards over his junior and senior seasons, but he only scored five TDs. Over 14 games in his rookie season, Howard caught 26 passes for 432 yards and six TDs on 39 targets while competing with Cameron Brate for playing time. O.J. had one elite game (6/98/2) when the Bills failed to defend him. Over his last eight games, Howard only had a playable value twice (3/52/1 and 4/54/1). He never had over six targets in any game, and he had two catches or fewer in ten of his games. His season ended in Week 15 with an ankle injury. Tampa signed Brate to a nice contract in March, which leaves Howard in the number two position again at TE. Big play TE with scoring ability, but he does lack the one key factor to have value in Fantasy games – opportunity.
RB T.J. Yeldon – After three seasons in the league, Yeldon didn’t live up to his second-round draft value in 2015. In his rookie year, he had 1,019 combined yards on 218 touches with 36 catches and three TDs. T.J. gained only 3.6 yards per rush and 6.2 yards per catch in 2016. He rarely saw early down action close to the goal line with Chris Ivory in the mix for touches. After missing the first six games in 2017 with a hamstring issue, Yeldon flashed in Week 7 (137 combined yards with one TD and two catches). Over the last eight games. T.J. worked his way into more playing time on third down (26 catches for 198 yards and no TDs on 35 targets). He continued to struggle to make plays in the run game (29/90/1). Change of pace back with enough talent to steal third-down chances in the passing game from Fournette.
QB A.J. McCarron – After riding the bench for most of his last three seasons for the Bengals, McCarron will have a short window to prove he belongs in the top 32 QBs in the league. He’s made three starts (2-1) in his NFL career with his best game coming in 2015 vs. the Steelers (280/2). His completion rate (64.7) in the pros falls in a range with his college resume (66.9) where A.J. won two National Championships with Alabama as a starting QB. Over three seasons as a starter in college, McCarron passed for 8,630 yards with 77 TDs and 15 Ints. His ability to minimize mistakes should give him a full season window as the starting QB for the Bills, but wins will determine his ultimate playing time in 2018. Buffalo has a very good pass catching back, and Kelvin Benjamin still has talent. I don’t know what to make of Zay Jones after his offseason incident. In the end, the Bills have below league average talent across their receiving positions. They will struggle to make scoring plays in the passing game in the red zone. McCarron is undraftable in the Fantasy market. His winning days behind a great offensive line in college are miles away in the rear-view mirror. For him to prove his worth in the NFL, he needs to make the players around him better while doing a winning job in a ball control type offense.
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