Upon further review: Best ball long short rounds 4 through 7.
While the first three rounds are thick with no brainer picks, the work gets harder in round four as the group offers potential elite production, with plenty more risk.
Juju Smith-Schuster (17%)
Juju had a spectacular rookie campaign: amassing 917 yards, 7 TDs, completely destroying Vontaze Burfict (see below) while becoming a fan favourite along the way. This is made all the more impressive when you realize he entered 2017 as the youngest player in the league. At 20 most players lack the physical and emotional maturity to take on the challenges of a new city, new life, increased fame and income, all while trying to learn a faster game against smarter, stronger, fully-grown competition. Yet, Juju staked out a claim on one of the leagues best offenses early, and refused to go away. Assuming he can overcome early pre-season injury concerns, its hard to imagine Juju not being better in year two.
On a dynasty note, Juju should be bought aggressively. It goes back to the age thing. The early start has given him a head start on the rest of the league. Assuming he reaches his prime at 25-27, he’s likely to be bigger and faster all while accumulating 4-6 years on NFL experience. This could be the start of a very long and successful career.
Josh Gordon (11%)
Owning Gordon is a nervous proposition. He’ll be a great story of redemption, a sad story of defeat or more likely, something in the middle. We all have good memories of him demolishing the league, stringing monster games together and blowing past secondaries. In those games he was a dominating physical force that looked to be an elite talent. Enthusiasm for a return to those heights should be tempered, his small sample size of elite play took place, shockingly, in 2013. That was a football lifetime ago. There is no telling what Gordon, if we see him at all, will appear come September. Currently out of training camp to reinforce his treatment and mental health, concerns that he will play out the year are real.
Stefon Diggs (9%)
If I liked him in round three, I love him in round four. Assuming he can stay healthy, everyone and their mother is calling for Diggs to make the leap this season. Naysayers will point out his shortage of 1,000 yard seasons (none), new quarterback and lengthy list of ailments as concerns. Fair enough, but having watched him play, I have confidence he can duplicate last year while stealing a healthy share of Adam Thielen’s thunder. Should the breakout predictions ring true, a 4th round pick is more than fair.
Amari Cooper (6%)
Granted, 6% is nothing to sneeze at, but he is held nervously and the buying has stopped. What haunts me is a game I watched last season where he was thrown to three times in the endzone and came up short each and every time. And while that evidence is anecdotal, I’ve seen enough of these similar blunders to have a negatively biased impression of the player and that’s difficult to shake. Add these factors: year one with a new coach, new system and the same over-rated, sub-par quarterback, and I don’t see a recipe for the certain success many are calling for. I’ll happily let him succeed on another team and readjust my biases for 2019.
Rashaad Penny (0%)
I don’t own a share of Penny at ADP. Despite what their coaching staff promises, I don’t see how the Seahawks are going to be able to control the game script and run the ball at will. There’s also the matter of their horrid offensive line performance over recent seasons. Add to the equation the returning (and currently hyped) Chris Carson, the explosive when healthy CJ Prosise and the under-rated Mike Davis, and I don’t see how Penny wins exclusive rights to this backfield, destined for disappointment.
Kenyan Drake (1%)
Drake had a great finish to 2017 and looks to have the majority share of the Dolphins’ backfield to start the year. Looking back he had impressive stat lines versus the Pats and Chiefs, as well as strong games against lesser lights, albeit with passable defenses, in Buffalo (twice) and Denver. This year’s schedule looks pretty favourable to Drake and the Dolphins. They have tough matchups versus the Jags and Vikings, but those don’t come until weeks 15 and 16. The games up to that point could offer Drake a good chance at big totals and cementing the lion’s share of the backfield touches. With little competition in the backfield, it appears my 1% ownership stake could haunt me.