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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 Mike Evans, Ryan Tannehill, Christian Kirk and many more of your favorite Texas A&M players! Stay tuned for more College Football Player Breakdowns!
WR Mike Evans – The Bucs struggled to get Evans the ball in 2017 leading to a drop off in his targets (136 compared to 173 in 2016). Mike has over 1,000 yards receiving in all four years in the NFL while scoring 32 TDs in 61 games. After catching 56 balls for over 20 yards over his first three seasons in the NFL, Evans only made nine catches of 20 yards or more last year. His scoring and big-play ability offset his low catch rate (53.4) in his career. Last season he had only one game with over 100 yards receiving compared to nine combined games in 2015 and 2016. Mike will start the year at age 25, which is the right area to expect more upside. Possible 100+ catches for 1,400+ yards and double-digit TDs. The loss of Jameis Winston should hurt his value, but it may lead to him falling in drafts. If Evans falls to the third in PPR leagues, he is going to be a steal.
QB Ryan Tannehill – With no games played in 2017, I’ll take a look back at Ryan’s previous season. The stats for Tannehill had minimal playable value in 2016. His best two games throwing the ball came in Week 2 (387/2) and Week 3 (319/3), but he did toss four interceptions. Over his first three starts, he averaged 37.7 pass attempts. The Dolphins switched to a rushing attack from that point on leading to him attempting only 27.6 passes per game over his next ten starts. Ryan had fewer than 200 yards in five of those games. Over his last seven games of the season, he had 13 TDs and five Ints. His completion rate (67.1) was the best of his career plus he made a nice step forward in yards per pass attempt (7.7 – career high). Over the last two seasons, Tannehill has been last active as a runner (32/141/1 and 39/164/1). His season ended in Week 14 due to partially torn ACL in his left knee that didn’t require surgery until it blew out last August. With a full season to recover, he’s expected to be ready for training camp. In 2017, Miami attempted 125 more passes than 2016 (477) with fade in their run game and Jay Cutler playing QB. The Dolphins lost their top possession WR in the offseason while adding a possible upside pass catching TE. Overall, Tannehill projects to be a league average player at best. Possible 4,000 yards passing with about 25 TDs.
WR Christian Kirk – Over 39 games in three seasons at Texas A&M, Kirk caught 234 passes for 2,856 yards and 26 TDs. His game is built to play in the slot, which makes him more of a future replacement for Larry Fitzgerald than a threat on the outside in 2018. Christian plays with strength and upside in his route running while his hands grade well. His deep won’t be an edge against the top CBs in the NFL. Tough call for me this year without some training camp and preseason news. I’ll follow him closely as he may emerge as the WR2 in the Cardinals’ offense. I good starting point may be 60 catches for 700 yards and about five TDs with positive news about his progress over the summer.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones – In his rookie season in the NFL after signing as an undrafted free agent, Seals-Jones flashed in Week 11 (3/54/2 on five targets) and Week 12 (4/72/1 on six targets) despite only being on the field for 25 combined plays. With similar playing time over the next two games (2/44 and 1/20), Ricky failed to make an impact with defenses now playing more attention to him in their game plan. His snaps doubled in Week 15 and Week 16, but his results faded (2/11 on six targets and 0/0 on one target). In the end, RSJ caught 12 of his 28 targets for 201 yards with three TDs and five catches of 20 yards more. In college, Seals-Jones caught 120 passes for 1,358 yards and nine TDs over 33 games from 2014 to 2016. He was a high recruit out of high school as a wide receiver. His game doesn’t matchup up well to NFL CBs due to his slow release and questionable hands. The change to TE should suit him well, but Ricky needs to add more fight to his game. One defensive back coach in the SEC made this statement about him in his scouting report at NFL.com, “He looks great in that uniform, but he can’t get open. Usually, you fear guys with that kind of size when they make it down near your end zone, but he never competed hard enough down there when we played him.” His path in 2017 almost fits this comment to a tee. When overlooked, Seals-Jones can make big plays downfield. In tight coverage, he struggled to make big catches and create separation. I expect him to have success vs. linebackers who play off the ball, but a talent coverage safety should be able to neutralize him. Part-time option at TE who can turn in a winning game if given an edge in his matchup. More of buy week cover for me unless his opportunity shows growth in 2018. I only see about 35 catches for 500 yards with a handful of TDs.
WR Josh Reynolds – Reynolds is the player LA hopes will challenge the secondary in the deep passing game. Josh has more height (6’3”) than size (194 lbs.), but he does win many jump balls even just average WR speed. He’ll have risk working the short areas of the field while needing to improve his release. Over three seasons at Texas A&M, Josh caught 164 passes for 2,788 yards and 30 TDs while averaging 17 yards per catch. In his rookie season, Reynolds caught 11 of 24 targets for 104 yards and a TD. Possible insurance card while showing scoring ability on his college resume.
RB Christine Michael – Over four seasons in the NFL, Michael gained 1,215 yards with eight TDs and 26 catches on 291 touches. His best success and opportunity came in 2016 over nine games with Seattle (565 combined yards with seven TDs and 20 catches). He missed all of 2017 due to an undisclosed injury. May emerge as the lead runner on early downs.
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K Josh Lambo – The Jaguars signed Lambo before Week 7 in 2017. Over the last ten games, he made 19 of his 20 field goals to raise his career success rate to 84.5 over 42 games in the NFL. In his career, Josh has ten missed extra points in 102 chances. Lambo is 6-for-10 from 50 yards or longer. Last year Jacksonville scored 47 TDs while producing winning field goal attempts (35). Tempting play in the season-long games, but the Jaguars will have success rushing the ball in for TDs in the red zone. Lambo has matchup value with top 12 upside with better QB play in 2018.
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K Randy Bullock – Over 63 games in his career in the NFL over five seasons, Randy has been successful in 82.8 percent of his field goal tries. In his rookie season, he missed nine of 22 chances from 40 yards or more. Randy showed growth his next season (30-for-35) with solid value from 50 yards or more (4-for-5), but he’s been unable to land a full time kicking gig over the last two seasons. In his career, Bullock is 6-for-12 from 50 yards or more with six extra-point kicks missed in 68 chances over the last three years. In 2017, he won the kicking job in Cinci leading to the best season of his career as far as field goals made (18-for-20). His leg is improving, but the Bengals’ offense is regressing in scoring chances. Only a matchup play if Cinci shows life offensively this year.
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