Fantasy Football Mock Draft
Fantasy Football Mock Draft 2020 – 6th Pick Overall
May 27, 2020
Aaron Jones Fantasy Impact
Aaron Jones Fantasy Football Impact and Outlook 2020
May 28, 2020

Top 6 Bounce Back Players for Fantasy Football 2020

Fantasy Football Bounce back players

The Counselor is joined by Tom Santanello to discuss the bounce-back of players like TY Hilton and Todd Gurley. Be sure to consider drafting these guys this year.

Top 6 Bounce Back Players 2020

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. David Johnson
  3. Brandin Cooks
  4. TY Hilton
  5. Juju Smith-Schuster
  6. Todd Gurley

Make sure you are subscribed to this #1 fantasy football podcast to dominate your leagues.

Joseph Robert:

Welcome to the show everybody. Joseph Robert, The Fantasy Football Counselor. We’re back here with Tom Santanello, and we’re talking bounce backs players for fantasy football, 2020. We’re going to talk about the reality aspect as well, because these guys were down last year and are they going to rise this year? What’s going on, Tom?

Tom Santanello:

What going on, Joe? Good afternoon.

Joseph Robert:

I’m excited man. Back to bounce back players. Because these guys are great value in fantasy football drafts, and I think a lot of people will be sleeping on them. They’re also fantasy football sleepers, I would say as well. So we’ve got a list of players here. You go, I go. Just have an open discussion. I don’t really want to script this thing. You kind of like it, just football chat. Let’s just talk football about these guys.

Tom Santanello:

Sounds good to me.

Joseph Robert:

Do you want to start off with your first player?

1. Le’veon Bell

Tom Santanello:

Yeah, sure. Let’s hop on. Let’s hop on the Le’Veon Bell train.

Joseph Robert:

Le’Veon Bell. Oh man, this guy was a first-round pick in fantasy last year, then sure enough, he crapped the bed. Product of the Jets’ offense, obviously. I mean, best player on the team, what happens this year?

Tom Santanello:

I mean, I have some things that I think we’re a reason . Number one, the first thing you got to look at, he had a full year off. I don’t care who you are, whether it’s from injury or just hanging out or hold out, taking a year off, you’re not going to come back at full strength, you’re going to be rusty. There’s that. There’s the new offensive line. They have three or four new starters on that offensive line, including a first-round draft pick, George Fant on the right tackle. I think they got a guard in the center as well. So, they have a new line. If they have some chemistry, Le’Veon’s going to have the better line, he’s going to be in shape finally, because no matter how long … Even if you’re working out with a year off, you’re not in football shape and I think that’s very, very important. Like you just said, he’s still their best player. Those are the main things. People don’t understand this, when you really analyze … I know the Jets aren’t a great team, but they finished the season five and two. When Sam Darnold was the quarterback, they were seven and six. This is slowly becoming Joe Douglas’ team … Adam Gase, I don’t know, maybe he’ll be on his way out soon, but Joe Douglas, he brought in Joe Flacco, who he knows. I don’t know if he drafted him in Baltimore, but he was there. He’s putting his own culture in there, and he’s building a strong blue-collar, tough team. And it’s only meant for Le’Veon to succeed over there. Now, him getting better play than last year, doesn’t mean he’s going to do what he did in Pittsburgh. But Le’Veon’s a great football player. He’s the best player they have. He’s going to get the opportunities there. And here’s a key thing too, if he’s not playing well or they’re out of contention, he may get traded. If he gets traded, the team who picks him up is going to use the shit out of him because I don’t know how much-guaranteed money is left, probably this year, it was a shorter deal. So keep that in mind, if he gets traded, which is highly possible, and has a bad few games in the beginning of the season, or even if he plays well and they’re going to showcase his skills to trade him and they’re not doing well, I think whoever trades for him is going to use and abuse him, like many teams do use and abuse running backs.

Joseph Robert:

Right. I mean, he could only improve. They added first-rounder Mekhi Becton at tackle out of Louisville there. They’ve added Denzel Mims, who, potentially could stretch the field out a little bit, take some pressure off. I’m excited about Bell a little bit more than I was last year. I mean, he’s average ADP’s fourth round. He’s not a first-rounder, so he’s going to be safe and solid, I think, in regards to production, in regards to receiving, in regards to everything there. There’s no one else that’s going to take that away. They’ve added Frank Gore, which isn’t much of a threat there in regards to taking away production. And I just heard today, Flacco says he’s not going to be ready for week one, but does anybody really care?

Tom Santanello:

No. I mean, that’s actually … I think that’s a great, great signing. Look at when Darnold went out last year, they had no backup quarterback. They were on their third-string quarterback. They need a backup quarterback. I don’t know when he’s going to be back, but listen, you need a backup quarterback in this league. So, as long as he’s ready in a couple of weeks … Last year, Sam Darnold went down with the vicious mono and missed what? Three games, four games, or something like that? But I mean, they were on their third string. David Fales … I mean, they just got crushed without Darnold, without a real backup. So I really do think that was a good signing. But that’s more of signing, not for fantasy, not for anything. Listen, if Flacco comes in, and has to play four games, and he goes two and two, it’s better than going  0 and four, but usually, you at least want to win a game or two with your backup, it’ll keep you in the ball game. But if Flacco comes in, they’re going to just give the ball to Bell 40 times. Not 40 times, 30 times. So, back to Le’Veon Bell. Le’Veon Bell is a stud, he’s still in the prime of his career, I think. He didn’t get much abuse last year. I think he’s going to come in and get the rock. And I think he’s going to come in and produce. The new offensive line, new team, I think they’re going to do that. I don’t think Gore’s really going to be a threat. I mean, Gore will want the ball, but whatever that means. But I think Le’Veon if he gets traded, that’ll be even better for your fantasy owners.

Joseph Robert:

Well, it depends on where he lands. I mean, he’s primed for a lot of volume. He had 245 attempts last year, only 3.2 yards per carry and three touchdowns. With Bell, I thought he would have had way more rushing touchdowns last year. I guess they didn’t find the red zone enough times. Three rushing touchdowns, one receiving, that definitely has to go up. There’s no way but up for Le’Veon Bell. I’m personally not drafting him. I think he’s still going to be of solid value for the third or fourth round, which is kind of where he’s going, but I’m personally staying away from all things Jets.

Tom Santanello:

You know what I would love to see? At the trade deadline, James Connor doesn’t do well, Pittsburgh takes a shot, takes Bell for another year.

Joseph Robert:

Maybe.

Tom Santanello:

Because he might be at peace in that offense if their receivers click. I can see that because they didn’t really leave on horrible terms. I mean, I know they didn’t agree to a contract, but it wasn’t like the Antonio Brown or other situations that have been there in the past. And I think that’s a situation … I mean, listen, it may not even be possible, but I think that will be a great spot for him to go back to. I think Buffalo would have been a great spot for him, but they have a couple of running backs, but we can go on about that another day.

2. David Johnson

Joseph Robert:

All right, I’ll give you one of my bounce back players. And this is pretty obvious, I keep talking about him, but David Johnson, man, I’m excited. I don’t think you’re as excited as I am, but I’ll tell you, I’m super pumped about David Johnson. Last year, obviously got screwed by Kingsbury, and now going on and ending up on the Texans, where he’s going to be a primary target. I mean, you heard some inside info … We won’t say who, that he’s going to be a focal point of that offense, including catching the ball in the backfield quite often. And what’s really appealing, and what I really like is Carlos Hyde sucks. And last year he had 245 attempts, 1070 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, and six touchdowns out of Carlos Hyde. Now, David Johnson, they’ve invested a lot to get him. I mean, he’s got to eat and he’s angry. That’s a big part of it, he’s angry. So I’m expecting a major bounce back. And I want to note guys, we’re talking about bounce-back players, guys that were on the field last year, that are just going to have a higher. We’re not really talking about injury-prone players. Not injury-prone, but guys who were injured last year, guys like Matt Stafford, obviously he’s going to bounce back, guys like Big Ben, obviously they’re going to bounce back. We’re talking about guys that had a mediocre year last year, they were technically on the field, they were supposed to be on the field, non-injury related and bouncing back. So David Johnson, really curious to hear your thoughts.

Tom Santanello:

Yeah. We’re also not talking about second-year players because that wouldn’t be fair, those guys had the rookie curve, which we’re going to do that in another episode, the sophomore risers, I think, just to keep that fact-checking in there.

Joseph Robert:

Right.

Tom Santanello:

But let me tell you something, David Johnson is going to get the opportunity, they’re going to want to use him. I think he’s going to have a good year. I’m not surprised when you say it and I’m not excited, because you’ve said it 50,000 times.

Joseph Robert:

Right.

Tom Santanello:

Listen, I agree with you. I don’t know if I think … I don’t know where you’re drafting him in your fantasy league, but I do think he’s going to produce, I think he’s going to put up numbers. I think the Texans … Listen, obviously everyone wants to win the Super Bowl, but the Texans, they’re in it to win it. I mean, they traded half their draft this year. I mean, they overpay Laremy Tunsil. They’re going to pay Deshaun Watson. The owner’s happy with Bill O’Brien, because they’re winning the division, they’re in the playoffs. I know that for a fact. I think David Johnson will have a good year this year, I really do. I think they’re going to want to take some of the pressure off Watson, especially if they pay him. I don’t know if they’ll pay him before their season or not, but he’s going to get about $40 mil a year. And I agree, David Johnson is going to get the ball in the backfield. David Johnson is going to get the ball in … Going to get the ball. He’s just going to get the ball. So, they traded for him for a reason. And Carlos Hyde had a thousand yards last year, like you just said, a thousand plus. And Carlos Hyde is okay, he got the job done, nothing exciting. He actually turned down an offer to go back there, but David Johnson should put up maybe 1,200 yards, maybe 10 TDS. Would that be fair?

Joseph Robert:

I think so. I think so. He’s going to catch a lot of balls, and I think he’s just going to be a big focal point of that offense. I’m just excited to watch him get that volume. And that’s one of the things that I like is that fourth round average draft position from a fantasy football perspective, I mean, you’re basically getting a workhorse running back for pretty much free because guys like him, based on the volume he’s supposed to get and the talent, that should be a first-round pick easily. I’d love him over Nick Chubb, and Nick Chubb’s coming off in the first round with Kareem Hunt there. Kareem Hunt’s going to eat. There’s no denying it. I mean, the only way Nick Chubb finishes top five … Top 10 is where he’s kind of being ranked right now, is if Kareem Hunt sits on the bench. I don’t want to spend too much time on this, but do you think Fremont sits on the bench?

Tom Santanello:

I mean, I don’t know what they’re going to do there with the new coach, but listen, if you got a guy that’s heading … I think Nick Chubbs a better running back … Everybody … Most people in football, he’s a better pure runner. I don’t know what they’re going to try to run there. I don’t know. We haven’t seen him be a head coach yet so it’s hard to say. But listen, I’m not talking first round, second round, third round, I’m just talking, legitimately, Nick Chubb, I think, is going to have another good year there. I don’t think there’s enough carries to give Kareem Hunt. He’s definitely going to be the backup. I think he’s the backup, and he’s going to get some more passes than Chubb. That’s what I think he’s going to be. Maybe if they’re trailing in games and he’s going to be out there on passing downs, third and long, those kinds of situations, he could be the third-down back too, but I think he’s going to be more in that situation. When Stefanski was in Minnesota, he used Dalvin Cook a lot. He’s a young head coach. No one’s really succeeded in Cleveland, so who knows what’s going to happen? They were a really poorly run organization last year, all the way around. They have a new GM, they have a new coach. Last year, it was horrible on offense. I just think you’re going to see a little different identity. I don’t know what they’re going to do. You just don’t know until you see a new coach in there and you see what he does, but it’s going to be an interesting situation to watch because they definitely have talent. I don’t know if they have the cohesiveness and can build the chemistry there to put a winner on the field. It remains to be seen. They have good players.

Joseph Robert:

It should be interesting. And let’s move on to your next bounce back players. We talked about Le’Veon Bell, we talked about David Johnson. Let’s move on to another bounce-back player you’ve got.

3. Brandin Cooks

Tom Santanello:

Let’s stay with the Texans. Brandin Cooks.

Joseph Robert:

I like him.

Tom Santanello:

He had a really bad year last year. Very bad for his standards. Just mediocre overall. He’s on a new team. He’s the number one option. DeAndre Hopkins and what? 150 targets and 1,100 something yards, out the window. Their other options do not excite me. I hate to go this way, a little reverse engineering. Will Fuller, five, 600 yards a year, injury-prone. Randall Cobb had what? One thousand yard season in his career. He’s on the back nine. Shit, he’s probably on 17 or 18. Kenny Stills, he’s like a smaller version of Willer Fuller. Was that guy who’d go deep in Miami. He didn’t really do much last year. So they don’t really have that guy. He’s going to be the man for Watson. He’s already working out with him for whatever that means. He’s got a good work ethic. He’s a good kid, good character. He’s not as good as Hopkins, but he’s the obvious replacement, and I think that’s important. He’s usually a consistent thousand-yard receiver, I can see him easily putting up a thousand to 1,300 yards, somewhere in there. He had that injury history with the concussions last year. That’s his only negative. Other than that, he’s probably going to double the stats he had last year.

Joseph Robert:

I love him. I love the upside, I love the value. I mean, this guy’s off everybody’s radar. You’re basically getting a wide receiver one after the sixth round, which is amazing. And the thing about it is, like you said, 150 targets freed up. Somebody’s got to eat those, somebody’s got to get that volume. So is it going to be David Johnson? Yeah, a little bit there, a little bit to Fuller. But I always found Fuller to be kind of a one-trick pony, deep threat, boom or bust kind of guy. I don’t see him as an all-purpose, catch the ball a lot, PPR, point perception machine. So yeah, I mean, Cooks has got to step up there. I mean, I don’t know what to tell you. I think he’s going to get the volume. I think David Johnson is going to be enough of a threat there in the backfield to create some distractions, open things up for Cooks. I think he’s going to be great. I think his offense is going to be better than what people think. A lot of people are coming at O’Brien saying, “He sucks,” bad decision. I think he’s made the right moves, man. He put the right pieces in place. Cobb, the veteran in there, not that exciting, but maybe in the slot could get some work, done enough to distract the defenses, maybe catch some passes. But I’m super excited about the value of Cooks. As long as he stays healthy, the concussion doesn’t play an issue, we’re good.

Tom Santanello:

Well, look at the other side too. DeAndre wanted a new contract. He and DeAndre did not get along. No matter, even if they go against it in the media, it’s true. So he took away somebody that didn’t fit, with somebody with a little lesser talent that can be more part of the family. And that’s what he is. He came from Belichick, I believe. He’s not him. He hasn’t really won, but he’s won the division. And like I just said, these are two Texans we just talked about, they’re in it to win it. They don’t really have a choice. They’re paying people, their caps are going to be done, they’re about to pay Deshaun $40 mill. I mean, they’re in it to win it. Cooks, he’s not on a great deal, but he’s on a manageable deal if he performs as one wide receiver.

Joseph Robert:

Yeah. All right, I’ll move on to my next guy here, sticking to wide receiver.

Tom Santanello:

Yeah.

4. TY Hilton

Joseph Robert:

Now, a lot of people are saying, “No, Jo, he’s washed up. Why would you even waste your time with a guy like this guy?” But T.Y. Hilton, because they’re saying him and Rivers are washed up, because they’re old, this and that.

Joseph Robert:

Another team that I think is in it to win it. They went and got Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman, some nice rookies in there. They’ve got Hilton, they’ve got Rivers. Rivers, they’re saying he might be more than a year, they might keep them for than a year if he performs well. Rivers, I think, a guy that’s got a monkey on his back, chip on his shoulder, whatever you want to call it. He’s kind of been that underrated quarterback that just never got the credit that he deserves. He’s like the Rodney Dangerfield or whatever. He never gets any respect from poor TY. Last year, he had a terrible year, only played 10 games. What did he have? 68 targets, 45 receptions, five touchdowns, but Jacoby Brissett just wasn’t that good, and clearly he’s gone. So Phillip Rivers, who’s made Keenan Allen a phenomenal receiver in fantasy in the past, when Keenan Allen has been healthy … I think this is going to be an exciting thing for T.Y. Hilton this year. I think if he gets the targets, he gets the volume, he could put up some serious numbers. And back to the Andrew Luck, T.Y. Hilton kind of days where he was kind of thriving there, he’s finally got a good quarterback. I think it’s definitely a bounce back, a hundred percent he’s going to bounce back. Last year, he finished what? Like 57th in PPR amongst wide receivers. So obviously, because of 10 games, but definitely a bounce back. And great fantasy football value, Tom, you’re getting this guy in the fifth round. And then you can get Michael Pittman later, pretty much for free. And you’ve basically got the wide receiver one, wide receiver too, with Phillip Rivers. That’s pretty good value, Tom.

Tom Santanello:

Let me rewind. The Indianapolis Colts, you said they’re in it to win it, which is true. But also, they’re also built. Now, a big problem with them is the Andrew Luck fiasco of 1 year ago. Now they’re a quarterback away, but also, I believe, but T.Y. to the side for a second, count on him being healthy, I think they’re still a big play or a weapon away … Not a Jonathan Taylor, I’m talking like a dynamic playmaker to stretch the field, the Kelvin Benjamin experiment didn’t really work out. So, I think they still need a little more electricity on offense, someone to blow-by. I mean, Michael Pittman could be that guy. He’s not as much a big-play guy. I think he’s a guy that can replace T.Y. in a couple of years, for sure, but I still think they need a little speed or something. I mean, it would have been nice to get a Henry Ruggs, somebody like could bring some big-play potential to that team. But with that said, T.Y. Hilton stays healthy, he’s going to be the man over there, Rivers is going to throw the ball. I don’t know how much Rivers has left in the tank. Rivers has never won. He’s been on some good teams. Last year, they did not look good. They just wouldn’t score. Most of their games, they didn’t put up. I mean, if you look at the Vegas, they were under a lot, their offense was not good. So, I’d like to see how Rivers performs in that offense. I think they’re going to use him to his strengths. I don’t know what he has left. That I think is going to be the key to T.Y. Hilton, but I do agree, he’s healthy, he’s the number one wide receiver, he’s going to put up a thousand yards, 1,200 yards.

Joseph Robert:

Right. If he’s healthy, that’s a big question. All right, let’s move on to another one of your bounce-back players.

5. Juju Smith-Schuster

Tom Santanello:

Juju Smith of the Steelers.

Joseph Robert:

Good one.

Tom Santanello:

I think … obviously he’s going to put up more stats just because Big Ben is back. I don’t think it is what they thought he was. I don’t think he’s a true number one, they compete for a lot of double teams. I think number one, he and Ben have a rapport. Since he was a rookie, he was making plays there. He’s going to be in Ben’s comfort zone, he’s going to be the number one target. Now, he finally has some young wide receivers with some experience that can help stretch the field, and I think that’s important. And they have that rookie, Claypool. He doesn’t have the experience, but he’s tall, he’s got some speed. They just need to get him in some one-on-one situations and, by default, he’s going to get the ball. He’s going to get a lot of targets. They also have two tight ends. If that works out with McDonald and Ebron this year, they’ll take the pressure off him. And the Steelers just want some weapons on that offense. JuJu’s their man. He’s going into a contract year. Steelers like to re-sign their own players, they did not re-sign him yet. And I think he had a really bad year last year. I don’t know if he’s asking for more money, I don’t know if negotiations have begun. But keep that in mind, they always extend their own guys. They like to do it early so they get a discount as well. They got James Conner there. They’re going to throw the ball. They’re going to run a little bit, but I think Ben’s coming back to throw the ball. He’s not coming back to hand it off. And like I said, I think they want to keep him there long term, and I think he loves that city, he wants to stay there long term. I’m looking for him to bounce back, put up a really good season from what he did last year. Big disappointment. It wasn’t a disappointment for me, because I didn’t think he would do good last year, but I think this is the year he comes out and plays like a bottom level one, high level, wide receiver two, in the real world.

Joseph Robert:

Well, for JuJu, there’s no way but up. As long as Big Ben’s there, he’s obviously going to do better than he did last year. There’s no question about it. But the guy I’m excited about is Diontae Johnson. I just read in the news a couple of hours ago, Diontae Johnson said he’s working it with his timing and building a bond with Ben Roethlisberger, said he may go work out with Ben next week. So that’s kind of exciting, man, if they’re building a bond together. You never know, he could be the guy.

Tom Santanello:

Yeah, he used to do that every year, bring his receivers down to the lake house in Georgia or somewhere. Bring them down and they work out every year. He used to do that. Listen, Ben is going to come and be in shape. He’s another one that’s aging too, though. I mean, I don’t know how much he has left in the tank. It’s weird. As players get older these days, technologies improve, the health and fitness, the medical’s improved, the guys come back from injury a lot quicker. Besides the injury, that’s another thing to look at, his arm strength from the injury and stuff like that. But it’s also, look at just as guys age. Guys are playing longer. Brady’s in his 40s. River’s is getting older. Roethlisberger is getting older. Eli Manning retired last year, came in when Roethlisberger did, and Rivers, I think. So Drew Brees came in a year before them, he’s still putting out. He had an injury last year, too. So as you get older, you’re more apt to get hurt and not play at a higher level. So I think he has to take care of his body, he’s still got a decent line in there, but I like JuJu to come back and be the one for the Steelers, and be a solid fantasy threat.

6. Todd Gurley

Joseph Robert:

Yeah. JuJu, I’m going to stay away from him. His ADP is too high, especially with the risk, and I can get Diontae and Claypool later, I’m going to go with those guys. Let’s move on to my other guy here, I want to talk about. My last guy for a bounce back. We’ve got to talk about him, and I’m just giddy about this guy, I’m excited. Because the opportunity is there, and another team that’s in it to win it. We’re focused on guys that are in it to win it, all in. This is the year, talk about older quarterbacks, Matt Ryan, the Falcons. But the bounce back here is obviously Matt Ryan, but that’s not the guy I meant to talk about, he’s also going to bounce back as well.

But Todd Gurley is the guy I’m talking about here. I’m super excited about this guy. Last year, he finished 14th amongst running backs in PPR, 223 attempts. I felt he was preserved till near the mid to end of the season, they started integrating him a lot more. 12 touchdowns on the ground, only 3.8 yards per carry, under a thousand yards with 857. Todd Gurley just excites me, because again, the Falcons did not acquire another running back. They’re all in on Gurley. This is our guy, period. That’s it. They’ve got who? Qadree Ollison and Brian Hill or something like that? A bunch of bottom feeders. Gurley’s the guy, man, I’m telling you.

Tom Santanello:

Yeah, the problem is, obviously, if he still has what he was a couple of years ago and he didn’t show that last year. Listen, you got three ways to look at it. If he’s still hurt, can’t play, then they need another running back. If he’s healthy, you got to look at it in two ways. Is he what he was and does he have explosiveness? Or has it lost a couple of steps? So that’s what you’re going to have to look at. And he didn’t look well last year. I think he’s coming in rejuvenated, but even if he’s coming in rejuvenated, he still has to have that explosiveness, he still has to have that brought him that excitement in the Rams. He can break any play. I mean, he’s the prototypical running back. He’s got the size, he’s got the speed. I mean, he’s just legit, the way he played.

He’s always battled injuries since he was at Georgia. We know that, since he was a freshman. He had a great year at Georgia, then he got hurt. He had another great year, got hurt that year. It just keeps happening. It’s like a broken record. So I think he really needs to perform. I believe in him. I love the guy. I think if he plays … I don’t think he’s going to put up no 16, 17, hundred-yard year like he’s capable of with his talent, for sure he is. He’s probably the number one, talent-wise, if he’s healthy, top one or two with Saquon, one of those kinds of running backs, talent-wise, in the NFL. There’s no way you can debate that, he’s at the top, but does he have what he had a couple years ago? If he doesn’t, he’s still good enough to get a thousand yards or 1,100 yards in that offense, which will be fine, because they’re going to throw the ball.

Joseph Robert:

Right. Ridley, Julio.

Tom Santanello:

I like Ridley.

Joseph Robert:

Yeah. How about Hurst? He could be special there, right? Is he special talent, Hayden Hurst, or is he just going to be an average-

Tom Santanello:

I think he’s a good talent. I don’t know if he’s special. I don’t think he’s special. But he’s good. But like I said, listen, Todd Gurley, a few years ago, they paid him a lot of money early on. They didn’t have to pay him. They thought they were going to get a few years of greatness. And he was like that guy that could have been the best running back for the next three, four years. I’m talking better than … I mean, Saquon didn’t even have a good rushing year last year, he had what? A thousand yards? But I’m talking somebody that’s ultra-talented because that’s what he was. Can he be that ultra talented guy? Even if he’s not, and he’s healthy, he’s still going to put up numbers, I believe.

Joseph Robert:

Right. He’s got to get all the work there, rushing around the end zone there, all the rushing touchdowns. And I’d like to see a 2017 Gurley again, but he’s due. Let’s put it that way. He is due. And I think he’s definitely going to finish ahead of the 14th amongst running backs this year. Because again, I just felt the Rams preserved him the first half of the season, they just didn’t push them. So these guys, well, the Falcons … Well, they want to win. I mean, Ryan wants to win. They had a terrible season last year, Matt Ryan was so disappointed. Because I watched him, I owned Matt Ryan a bunch of weeks, and big let down, man, completely. So look for him and Gurley to bounce back this season. All right, you got one more, right?

Tom Santanello:

No, three and three. But I think there’s one thing you got to watch out for with the Falcons. If they’re a bad team again and they fall behind a lot, that’s going to take the running game out of it, which it does on a lot on a lot of teams. It took Le’Veon a lot of the games sometimes last year. So I think that … I mean, listen, there are a couple of other guys that are in that range. Adam Thielen, Kamara for the Saints. I don’t know. Those guys were next up on my list, and I’m not … Thielen, I think, can bounce back. He’s not going to have a stud on the side of him, unless who was it? Jordan Jefferson performs at that level.

Joseph Robert:

Justin Jefferson.

Tom Santanello:

Justin Jefferson. Jordan, Justin, whatever. And I mean, as far as Kamara, I don’t know. He’s a one, two punch kind of guy. He said he was hurt last year. He’s a guy I’d keep an eye on, but I don’t know if he’s capable of being that guy that can be 25 rushes a game and handle the number one load. I don’t know if he can handle that. Last year, I wasn’t too excited about him. But if he hits that level … He was supposed to get extended too.

Joseph Robert:

Right.

Tom Santanello:

He wanted mega money. So if he comes … But why don’t they extend these people? JuJu, him, the team sees something or the play. Then you’ve got to look at the other side. The players want a lot. They want a lot of money. So the teams don’t think they’re worth it. I don’t know. I’m not privy to the negotiations with those two players, but you can definitely see that being an issue.

Joseph Robert:

Yeah, Cook needs to get paid, Fournette needs to get paid, Alvin Kamara needs to get paid. There’s a ton of guys that still need to get this big deal going or some sort of deal going, right?

Tom Santanello:

Yeah, I mean, who’s the first guy you said, Cook?

Joseph Robert:

Dalvin Cook, yeah.

Tom Santanello:

I mean, you said need to get paid, but running backs … These teams don’t want to pay them, these running … Derrick Henry didn’t get paid, he got a franchise tag.

Joseph Robert:

That’s crazy.

Tom Santanello:

And he was a monster. But why are you going to do that when you see the trend that I told you about last week. The Ravens took Dobbins, the Colts took Taylor. I mean, the Lions took Swift. They’re replacing guys with guys in the draft that are going to play for a half a million, 700 grand a year. So I don’t think … The history goes to show you, besides … Number one, running backs, usually over the age of 30, don’t perform at a high level. I mean, [Frank Horace 00:27:02] performed what I would call at high level, but he’s the exception, one in a hundred. LeSean McCoy’s not performing-

Joseph Robert:

Peterson, not performing.

Tom Santanello:

No, he’s not. But then again, you got to look at how many running backs’ second contracts, and I’m talking guys making over five million a year, that has really been worth it. I mean, you’ve just got to look.

Joseph Robert:

But there’s only a handful of running backs you want to sign. CMC, Zeke, Saquon Barkley, Henry, which I’m surprised he didn’t get signed. Other than that, everyone’s replaceable. Because I really genuinely feel like Mattison could do the same thing Cook did in that offense. And you’ve got Taylor who’s better than Matt, potentially. You’ve got Clyde Edwards-Helaire who’s easily better than the other guys there. Darrell Williams, Damien Williams, whatever the hell their names are. Way better. So yeah, these guys are easily … Dobbins. Swift is much better than Kerryon. You’ll never end up paying Kerryon. What a good strategy, just nail one of these guys early, some of these studs, and you replace your mediocre running backs. Don’t ever pay the mediocre guys, the guys that get hurt, like Dalvin Cook. Just never pay them. it’s simple, simple.

Tom Santanello:

Look at New Orleans. You know, it’s funny. Four or five years ago they gave Mark Ingram four years, $16 million. He got paid, but he didn’t really … He played out the whole contract, but that’s what he was, four million a year, he’s not like an eight or nine million dollar a guy. They took a guy this year late … Oh no, the undrafted guy, Tony Jones, Notre Dame. People were saying he’s supposed to look good over there, an undrafted guy. Don’t draft the guy. But they want to power back to complement Kamara, and … Who did they have last year? Latavius Murray?

Joseph Robert:

Yeah. He’s still there.

Tom Santanello:

He’s still there. And he’s got some potential over there, that one, two punch. But they need somebody like that. And a team like that, when you go to Kamara, I mean, what is Kamara worth? Then you start to see the injury history, you see that with Dalvin Cook, you see that with Kamara, you see that with Jujus… I don’t know if he’s ever played a full season. You start to see injury history, how often do you want to pay a player who gets hurt? What if a Derrius Guice comes and balls out this year? Would you pay him?

Joseph Robert:

No.

Tom Santanello:

And he’s got talent.

Joseph Robert:

No, that’s why they got Gibson and, who else they got? They got Bryce [crosstalk 00:28:59] in there. They got a ton of guys.

Tom Santanello:

But my point is, with the injuries, would you pay a guy you can’t count on, whether … Kareem Hunt. I mean, the guy has been in trouble. Has he played, what? One full season?

Joseph Robert:

I think he did 2017, right?

Tom Santanello:

You can’t count on a guy and he doesn’t play 16 games, 15 games a year, what’s the point of having them on your team? Unless it’s number one, insurance, or number two, a gamble. But you can’t take a gamble and put that guy as the number one guy and not have another option that’s equal. You just can’t do it. I mean, these guys want to win.

Tom Santanello:

Dalvin Cook, they got insurance last year with a third-round pick. Mattison. But you put him on the ball this year if Cook comes out and he has a good year, then you keep him for another couple of years, and it’s like a cycle, the running back cycle. Ezekiel Elliot was worth the money. But you also got to look at the way you structure a contract. You want to get an out in two to three years. I think Le’Veon, they can get an out on him this year. You want to get an out in the next couple of years on a contract. Really two years will be a dream, the guaranteed money runs out in two years. And it’s funny, the way Pittsburgh structures their deals usually, they, I think, do all the guarantees in the first year on the signing bonus. But regulars don’t get a signing bonus. They give you money on a basic guarantee. So look at what happened with Antonio Brown, he didn’t earn that money. They don’t give signing bonuses. Maybe to a quarterback they will, that’s always the exception for a lot of teams, just like in Pittsburgh. They will not extend any players with more than one year left, unless you’re a quarterback, they’ll do two, and they did that with Ben.

But there are trends that teams do their contracts with, too, that a lot of people don’t know, and some teams just will not do it. They just have a hard policy on that. So I don’t know. I mean, the running back market is just weird. Like Saquon Barkley I think is a stud. He seems to me that next guy that’s going to be that Zeke, that guy that can just perform.

Joseph Robert:

Zeke’s-

Tom Santanello:

I mean, he’s a stud, he’s a beast. I think he’s just a great running back. He’s going to put up those numbers every year.

Joseph Robert:

And he’s durable. That’s huge. Durability … He and Christian McCaffrey have been pretty solid. They’ve been almost bulletproof.

Tom Santanello:

Hopefully, he matured over the last year or two. Remember he had those issues in the beginning, the kid. But he’s a stud. But see, you look at him, you look at Saquon … I’m just talking talent-wise. A healthy Gurley, they’re on a different level than a Dalvin Cook. They’re just on a different level. It’s not a comparison. Derrick Henry, he’s had some … I mean, last year it was a year, but what has he done the few years before that? He’s had some good seasons, but he hasn’t had that …

Joseph Robert:

He never had the opportunity. He never really got those attempts. He never really got the rushes. No one believed in him. It was everything. Even the quarterback sucked. Mariota wasn’t helping the case either.

Tom Santanello:

But Tannehill’s no prize.

Joseph Robert:

Yeah.

Tom Santanello:

I mean, I don’t like Tannehill. You love the guy. I mean-

Joseph Robert:

Only this year, only this year as a backup. I hated him in Miami, to be honest. Just on record, I didn’t like him at all.

Tom Santanello:

I don’t like the guy. I just don’t. Listen, can you win a Super Bowl with Ryan Tannehill?

Joseph Robert:

No.

Tom Santanello:

Flacco won a Super Bowl in his prime, won a great Super Bowl against the Niners.

Joseph Robert:

He had a defense. He had a defense, though, a really good defense.

Tom Santanello:

But he made the throws. He made those key throws at the key times. Another thing that I think sucks is I love A. J. Brown. I think he’s a stud. But I [ think he’ll show as a stud under Tannehill. I love A. J. Brown. I mean, the catches he made last year, he’s just unbelievable. I think he’s going to take a big step forward this year. But how much of a step forward can you take with Tannehill as your quarterback?

Tom Santanello:

Tannehill’s also battled some injuries over the years. So I don’t know what he’s going to do in Tennessee next year. I mean, don’t forget Mariota took him to the playoffs once or twice, I believe, in Tennessee. I think they even beat the Chiefs the year before, right?

Joseph Robert:

I think they did.

Tom Santanello:

So I mean … But they were nine and seven last year. People don’t look at that. The Jets were what? Seven and nine. There was a two-game different difference. The Steelers were what? Nine and seven with Mason Rudolph and, what’s that guy’s name? The duck. Devlin Hodges.

Joseph Robert:

Yeah.

Tom Santanello:

Nine and seven is one game … Usually, you’re not in the playoffs at nine and seven, but nine and seven is one game away from being eight and eight, and definitely not in the playoffs. Now there are random years, you could win a division at nine and seven, obviously. And I think that was horrible last year, but man it’s just a different … I don’t know. I just look at a nine and seven-team, and they’re closer to eight and eight than 10 and six. That’s the way I look at it. Seven and nine to nine and seven, you’re all grouped in the same thing. Because anyone or two of those games can go either way. So, I mean, that’s the way you really have to look at a football team. But then there are some seven and nine teams that are closer to five and 11. I mean, if you really want to dive into the rosters, which I’m not doing now.

Joseph Robert:

All right, all right. We got this. Devlin Hodges equals Ryan Tannehill. We get it.

Tom Santanello:

Tennessee is great coaching. I love the coach. They’re a tough football team. I don’t know if you could win a Super Bowl with a tough hard-nosed football team that counts on the run. They can’t play from behind, and I told you that before, just like the Ravens. Ravens had horrible receiving last year, they cannot play from behind. If you can’t play from behind you, it’s so hard to win a Super Bowl. I mean, you need to play from behind, you need to be able to do those things in order to succeed in this league at the highest level. It’s a difference between being a playoff team and being a Super Bowl team.

Joseph Robert:

All right. Well, thank you for ranting and raving near the end there. I liked that. I liked the passion, enthusiasm. I just want some football, man. And yeah, I agree, man. You’ve got to be a special talent. There are those teams that scrape by, make the playoffs barely, and they just have this crappy record. They just squeaked in there. And I think the Titans are one of those teams. So yeah. Man, I’m excited, I’m excited about the season. Those are our bounce backs. Let’s do sophomore step ups next week.

Tom Santanello:

Yeah, we’ll do that. Don’t forget, we’ve gotthe playoff team next year … Well, this year.

Joseph Robert:

Yep.

Tom Santanello:

Which is going to make it more exciting. I mean, I don’t know. Now they’re doing some fourth and 15, you can do instead of kick the ball. Well, they’re voting on it, I should say, tomorrow.

Joseph Robert:

Okay.

Tom Santanello:

A new rule. So that way if you’re whatever … You don’t have to kick off, you can go one down, untimed, fourth and 15.

Joseph Robert:

Okay. Yeah. I don’t care, man. I don’t care if they have fifth and 15, I just want to see some football. I don’t care what the rules are at this point. I just need some football in my life.

Tom Santanello:

I hear you.

Joseph Robert:

All right, Tom. Thanks for being here, man. Fire and ice with Tom Santanello. And yeah, we’ll see you guys next Wednesday, and we’re going to talk about sophomore step-ups, the Montgomerys of the world. Will they step up the A. J. Browns, the Deebo Samuels? We’ve got it all for you. Thanks for being here, Tom. We’re out.

Make sure you are subscribed to this #1 fantasy football podcast to dominate your leagues.

 

Joseph Robert
Joseph Robert
Joseph Robert's outside of the box, LION mentality has created the strongest and most loyal fan base in the fantasy football industry! @fantasyfootballcounselor
16 Rounds