You may know Jason Katz from his published football work on sites like FantasyPros. You may also know him as a member of our Handicapping Group (the band is dusting off the instruments and getting ready for 2017…we’ve been renewed for another season). You may also know him, or will get to know him as a die-hard Dallas Cowboys’ fan.
I asked Jason to follow the Cowboys for us all year…for fandom and fantasy. I did so, because he’s convinced, like most fan(atic)s that thinking something good will happen will jinx it to not make it so. I have a different theory — when I see a jinx potential, I pour it on to reverse the jinx. I see a jinx and yell ‘this is a jinx’ just to spit in the face of the jinx. The Dallas Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl this season, and I am not a biased fan…and the more I say it…the more it’s likely to come true…and the more l say it…the more likely Jason loses sleep and hair follicles.
Jason is a talented young writer, so please enjoy him manically following the ‘Boys…but also sharing fantasy ideas, as his blood runs FFM green and CFM crimson.
Follow more of Katz’s work on Twitter: @jasonkatz13
$&%@! Dammit Zeke! Why couldn’t you just stay out of trouble? I will say this about the NFL – I hate the way they handle their disciplinary proceedings. Not that I endorse whatever it is Zeke did (and I do believe he did something to warrant a suspension), but here’s my issue: Ezekiel Elliott was never charged or convicted of any wrongdoing. Again, not saying he didn’t do anything wrong nor condoning domestic violence. The determinations detailed in the NFL’s letter to Zeke depict some pretty unacceptable behavior that had Tiffany Thompson chosen to more forward with charges, she likely would have succeeded in imposing some sort of criminal discipline on Elliott. Talking purely from an NFL standpoint and their policies – he gets six games for this, but Tyreek Hill pleads guilty to domestic abuse and Joe Mixon takes a plea on an assault charge – and they get nothing. What exactly is the standard here? Josh Brown admitted to beating his wife over 20 times and got one game. I’d just like some consistency. NFL players should absolutely be punished for acts of violence against women, but they should be punished equally. Zeke deserves his suspension for what he did, but this notion that acts of violence that didn’t happen “on the NFL’s time” is a bunch of poppycock. From a fairness standpoint, what Zeke did, while indefensible, is nowhere near as bad as what Tyreek or Mixon did. Why only Zeke though? This feels very much like a witch hunt. Additionally, the letter from the NFL indicates that if Zeke violates the personal conduct policy again, his career might be over.
For the Cowboys, this is incredibly frustrating. However, I can’t quite say for sure if this will be yet another case of #Giantsluck. What’s #Giantsluck you say? That’s the incredible amount of breaks the New York Giants enjoy throughout every season. Did you know the 2011 New York Giants are the worst football team to ever win a Super Bowl? That was just one giant box of lucky charms. Now they may enjoy a week one showdown with Dallas sans Ezekiel Elliott. The professional Cowboys don’t suffer as much as people will think. Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris, while no Zekes, will be serviceable behind that elite offensive line. Dak Prescott will be asked to do more and hopefully the good Dez Bryant shows up to help carry the offense. I have confidence that Dak can make this work.
Now to fantasy. This is probably the most problematic and controversial issue I’ve ever seen in fantasy. Zeke is going to appeal the suspension, which means he’s not suspended until the appeal is ruled on. And even after that, he can take this to court and drag it out a la Tom Brady in Deflategate. Zeke’s hearing will occur on August 22 per NFL appeals rules (second Tuesday after the ruling is issued). I have a draft August 23. I’m sure many of you are drafting that week. As of our drafts, Zeke will technically be available to play week one. We will have no idea when the ruling will come down. If Zeke is missing the first six games, that probably drops him into the third round. But what about if he might miss six games at some point during the season or possibly not at all? I expect his draft position to be very inconsistent from league to league, likely getting higher as we get closer to the season with no ruling. My guess is an appeal would likely drop it to five or four games, but that is still a significant portion of the season. Zeke will definitely fall out of the first round, but if he rolls around to you late second and you already have David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, or Odell Beckham, it’s going to be mighty difficult to pass on that pairing and hope you can weather the storm for half a season or so. I don’t think I could do it, but I acknowledge the appeal.
In other news, Sammy Watkins now on the Rams. I think that’s a boost to his value as the Rams will run more of a traditional passing offense. He joins his teammate last year, Robert Woods, who will probably the #2. This is unfortunate for Cooper Kupp, who was poised to start as he likely falls to third on the depth chart. Although, he could beat out Woods for the other flanker position with Tavon Austin manning the slot. Quietly, much maligned Les Snead (or perhaps this is Sean McVay’s doing) has put together some nice weapons for Jared Goff.
Jordan Matthews to Buffalo is good for his value. He goes from being an unwanted #2 in Philadelphia playing with Carson Wentz to being the unquestioned #1 in Buffalo. This hurts Tyrod Taylor a bit as Watkins is far more of a downfield threat and an all around better player, but JMatt should see increased volume. Even if Tyrod isn’t the most accurate thrower, this should work in Matthews’ favor. I’m sure RC and the FFM Draft Guide will be reacting to the news in short order.
As a final thought – I see what you did there NFL. Don’t think you can fool me. These trades being announced just minutes after the Ezekiel Elliott suspension – don’t think I don’t know that was intentional.
The 2017 Fantasy Football Draft Guide package has arrived! Now available: 2017 FFM Draft Guide Package
Our seventh annual edition over at Fantasy Football Metrics.com. It’s a fantasy draft guide like none other – updated nearly every day from our June launch to opening kickoff. 600+ players projected with thousands of words of commentary for the 2017 season based on our tape scouting, computer/analytics/Moneyball models for the 2017 season and the impact of the schedule. We update all the projections and data daily up to kickoff of the regular season.
We nailed it out of the gates on Jordan Howard, Tyrell Williams, Rishard Matthews and so many more in 2016 – pulling sleepers out of thin air and avoiding many landmines. And of course, David Johnson as our ‘top guy’ for 2016…just like we had him rated higher than anyone else in the dynasty rookie draft in 2015, a major sleeper in our 2015 fantasy football draft guide and ranked #1 among all fantasy options going into 2016…we never wavered. You need to know about these guys before everyone else…not debating how high to rank them once they are stars – anyone can do that. We find talent and value year-round, ahead of the masses.
We have several new ‘things’included for 2017. It’s our most ambitious draft guide package ever and we’re still adding more data views to it every week throughout the preseason to opening kickoff.