By: Henry John @HankTimeSports
BANK IT! Hank’s Bank is back for the 2019 NFL season! This weekly column will light you up with more Fantasy Football insight, knowledge, and hot takes than you’ll be able to handle. Every bit of analysis is based on my own player rankings, countless hours of research, and techniques I utilize with my own teams. Whether you want to win your league, perfect your strategy, or are a Fantasy Football newcomer, you’ve come to the right place. Hank’s Bank is available exclusively on The Fantasy Hot Read all season long. BANK THAT!
Let’s dust off the cobwebs and get hyped for the season with some draft and preseason Fantasy deposits!
The first round of Fantasy Football drafts is all about the stars. Whoever you draft will provide you with plenty of production (sorry 2018 Le’Veon Bell owners) and the choice ultimately comes down to your personal preference. I am here to tell you that if Nick Chubb is on the board when your first-round pick is up, he should be your selection. Last year’s 996 rushing yards and 5.2 yards per carry average was just the start of what Chubb will bring to the Browns’ offense the next several seasons.
The acquisition of standout receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will help keep defenses from gearing up solely to stop the run. The Browns’ offensive line does have some question marks, but the unit has been much better at run blocking than in pass protection during the preseason which could lend Chubb a few extra carries as Cleveland plays to the line’s strength. Honestly, the only player I can understand the argument for taking above him is Saquon Barkley, owner of my overall number one preseason ranking.
We all know the adage that you don’t truly know what you are getting by drafting a rookie talent to your Fantasy team. While that fact holds true on the surface for all 2019 rookies, it isn’t enough to stop me from being excited about a quartet of first year running back talents.
Alabama product Josh Jacobs finds himself in position to be the workhorse back for Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears traded away Pro Bowl back Jordan Howard to make room for former Iowa State Cyclone David Montgomery. He projects to be a great fit into Matt Nagy’s high-octane offense. Utah product Darwin Thompson had to wait until the sixth round of the NFL Draft to hear his name called. But after the Kareem Hunt debacle and shaky training camps from both Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde, Thompson could see a major role in what we already know is a top-notch offense. Finally, the Baltimore Ravens will be all about running the football as they tailor their offense to fit Lamar Jackson’s skillset. He won’t be the only option, but rookie Justice Hill out of Oklahoma State has the potential to be a significant weapon.
What’s great about each of these four backs is that their current ADPs have them all going at various points throughout the draft. No matter which rookie you choose to bet on, all four of these names are loaded with both talent and Fantasy Football upside.
The Atlanta Falcons were one of the bigger disappointments in the NFL as far as the standings were concerned last season. It’s hard to place any of the blame on the passing offense which finished ranked 7th in the league according to Football Outsiders. Matt Ryan was superb, throwing for 4,924 yards and 35 touchdowns, both good for 3rd among all NFL quarterbacks. Even with a healthy Devonta Freeman set to restore some clout to the Atlanta rushing attack, I expect Matt Ryan to have another stat-stuffing season in 2019.
Julio Jones will be a Fantasy Football stud so long as he is upright. I also expect second year wideout Calvin Ridley to take a big step forward. Mohamed Sanu is an above-average third option, and tight end Austin Hooper is a great name to target at a shallow Fantasy position. As bad as Dirk Koetter was as head coach in Tampa Bay, he is an upgrade over Steve Sarkisian at offensive coordinator. However, you decide to do it, get yourself at least a piece of the Falcons passing attack. You won’t be disappointed.
Many disgruntled Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans view 2015 number one overall pick Jameis Winston’s NFL career as a disappointment. However, several underlying stats reflect positively on the quarterback’s ability. There is a lot of noise that 2019 could finally be Winston’s breakout season, and I am inclined to agree with this notion, provided that a few conditions are upheld.
First off, Winston must stay healthy. The Bucs’ offseason investments into improving the offensive line should help to accomplish this, as well as perhaps establish some semblance of a rushing attack to keep the offense balanced. Second, the new coaching staff must have a plan in place to let Winston shine. Any chance of a breakout is based on the belief that new head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will run a better system than the previous regime. The final key to Winston’s success is the health and performance of his pass catchers. We know Mike Evans is a beast, but a trustworthy second and third option must perform consistently. Slot receiver Chris Godwin and tight end O.J. Howard have all the skills necessary to be those guys.
When it’s all said and done, Winston’s ADP has him as the QB13 according to Fantasy Football Calculator. That is a steal in my book, based on the upside both he and the entire Buccaneers offense present.
It would be remiss to not address the bombshell Andrew Luck retirement that brought many an Indianapolis Colts fan and early Fantasy drafter to tears. Sportsbooks across the country dropped the Colts season win total from 10 to 7, and rightfully so. While Indy certainly won’t win as many games with Jacoby Brissett running the offense, I am not as down on the team from a Fantasy standpoint as some.
Even without Andrew Luck, the Colts will still trot out arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. It is a stark contrast from the line Brissett played behind two years ago that had him running for his life every other play. Marlon Mack has established himself as a sound NFL back, so Brissett will have the support of the running game. Finally, Frank Reich is just a better coach than Chuck Pagano. I am confident that he can keep things simple for Brissett and not have him trying to do too much.
While Luck’s retirement certainly downgrades the offense and the Fantasy value of pass catchers like T.Y. Hilton, Devin Funchess, and Eric Ebron, all is not lost. You might even be able to find some good draft value on these names as other owners steer clear of the Colts altogether.