Everton Laughing As Richarlison Worth The Gamble… So Far

Everton splashed a lot of cash this offseason but drew a lot of laughter by forking over big cash for unproven Premier League winger Richarlison. Well, two games in and Everton look to be laughing now as their big addition has hit the ground running.

The player mentioned is Richarlison, formerly of Watford and formerly managed by Marco Silva. Silva lost his managing position mid-season in 2017/18 after reports that Everton was interested in him. Ronald Koeman had been sacked and Silva was a solid choice moving forward.

Six months later Silva is Everton’s manager and his first big move was spending in excess of £40 million for his former left winger. The price was exorbitant and many believed it to be an overpay, simply because the manager’s ex-club wanted to make him pay for taking a player off their hands.

So why did Silva target the player? Well in 2017/18 he only managed five goals and ended the season with 27 games without a goal. The thing is that Richarlison only scored when Silva was his manager. The two seem to know how to work off of each other, the manager knows how to get the best out of the player and the player trusts the manager to set him up to succeed.

Anyone who has watched him play can see his insane speed. Down the left side of the pitch, few Premier League players can keep up with him. He also doesn’t like to stay outside meaning his play relies on fast cuts and tricky dribbles to get into the oppositions box, almost positioning himself as a secondary striker at times.

Two games into his season and Richarlison has begun repaying the faith and fee Everton and Silva had in him, netting three goals in just two games. The golden boot isn’t his just yet, but he is showing why his former and current manager believed enough in him to spend that money on the 21-year-old Brazilian talent.

Having Premier League experience is an added bonus for Richarlison, and is proving costly for another team who splurged a similar transfer fee for a speedy Brazilian winger. West Ham is currently at a loss for why Felipe Anderson hasn’t adjusted to the Premier League style of play.

Richarlison has already adapted to the physical play-style and immediately has a step up on Anderson, his fellow Brazilian winger.

It’s all laughs for Silva and Richarlison right now as his form is currently untouchable. Will he be worth the £40m? Only time will tell but such a talent at that young of an age is all positive for the Toffee’s as it stands now!

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WR’s – Who to Draft when everyone’s done Drafting

Top 3 WR’s Ranked #30+

With there being so few top end RB’s, finding WR’s to fill your flex spots is imperative. Luckily, there are plenty of options.
I’m not talking ‘sleepers’ here, I’m talking ‘been dead for years and you’re excavating their sarcophagus’.

Ranked 30 or above.

These picks won’t necessarily help you right away, and may be risky plays in DFS, but in dynasty leagues with salary caps, these can turn a bench spot into future dollars.

Top 5 Obvious WR’s to Target in any format:
1. Antonio Brown
2. DeAndre Hopkins
3. Odell Beckham Jr.
4. Julio Jones
5. Michael Thomas

but to the real juicy stuff…

LAR Cooper Kupp – ADP 37*
I’m not going to go very deep in the whole analytics thing, I’m a firm believer in that it doesn’t really matter in fantasy. Does the guy get points? Then it’s a good pick.
Cooper Kupp, to be frank, is going to be on fire this season. The sophomore Rams WR exploded onto the scene as a rookie and piled up 869 yards on 62 catches with 5 TD’s. He showed an ability to pop off for a long catch, and excels over the middle.
It’s not a stretch to say he hits 70+ catches, 1,000+ yards, 8 TD’s. Get him and ride off into the sunset.

Top RB’s to draft ranked 30 or above

LAC Mike Williams – ADP 46*
I know what you’re thinking. “Keenan Allen is going to eat up all the targets.” Sure, he’ll get targeted lots. But what did I just finish saying? If they score points, that’s all that matters. Williams has, by all accounts, looked incredible throughout camp. Making circus catches, high-pointing over DB’s, and showing an incredible hunger to get back into the game.
Rumour has it that with TE Hunter Henry out for the year, the Chargers are scheming a lot of things for Williams around the end-zone, and when you combine a QB like Rivers with a WR with the size and ability of Williams, you know what that usually equates to? That’s right, points. He’s not on a ton of peoples’ radar, and can be had very late, and very cheap, which will be great for next year when he really breaks out and you’ve kept him. (And hint: Keenan Allen has an opt-out of his deal after this year)

SEA Tyler Lockett – ADP 56*
This is it. This is the year for Tyler Lockett. He’s had a rough go of it so far, but this is the year. Last season he proved he could come back after a (brutal) injury to stay healthy all season, and this year looks to take the next step into real effectiveness.
Russell Wilson has lost a few weapons in Richardson, Kearse, and Jimmy Graham so there’s a few more catches to be had out there. Lockett’s maxed out at 51 catches for 664 yards with 6 TD’s in his rookie season back in 2015, but looks to pile on top of that with tons of room to run out there. While Seattle’s offensive line has improved, Wilson will still be looking to get the ball out quickly which helps the inside guys (Lockett) pile up the targets. I personally had him as a rookie and kept him, but NOW it’s time.

*based on 12-team PPR

Leave a comment and let me know who I missed, maybe we’ll get into a healthy discussion about it. Or tweet me @HollandGregJ

RB’s – Who to Draft when everyone’s done Drafting

Top 3 RB’s Ranked #30+

The consensus for the past few years has been that if you aren’t lucky enough to get a top 5 running back in your draft, you have no shot at winning. To help alleviate your issues, you need to be good at picking out talent beyond the Top 5 obvious ones.

I’m not talking ‘sleepers’ here, I’m talking ‘been dead for years and you’re excavating their sarcophagus’. Ranked 30 or above.
These picks won’t necessarily help you right away, or in DFS, but in dynasty leagues with salary caps, these can turn a bench spot into future dollars.

Top 5 RB’s to Target in any format:
1. Todd Gurley
2. David Johnson
3. Le’Veon Bell
4. Ezekiel Elliott
5. Saquon Barkley/Alvin Kamara
(I only wanted 5 here, but, Kamara’s too good).

but to the real juicy stuff…

SEA Chris Carson – ADP 37*
Carson had a great start last season, but unfortunately for him went down with a broken leg in Week 4 vs. the Colts after amassing 208 yards on 49 carries with 1TD behind Seattle’s plainly abhorrent offensive line. Seattle was one of the worst rushing teams last season, but have taken actions to improve their line this time around. In Carson’s only real feature role last year, he ran for 93 yards on 20 carries for a 4.6 avg. This guy has done nothing but impress his coaching staff and fans alike with his ability to explode off of cuts, and being one of those power backs who always seems to fall forward. He’s going to be a goal-line beast. I’m expecting 6-7 TD’s as a floor. He’s Seattle’s starter, and should be FED. You’d be able to pick him up for absolutely nothing, and it’ll be one of the smartest moves you can make.

NYJ Isaiah Crowell – ADP 35
He finally escaped the hole in Cleveland, only to land with the J-E-T-S. The obvious negative here is that they’re obviously not a powerhouse and they’re QB situation is a tad murky at the moment, BUT he’s 1st in line in the backfield. Crowell didn’t get too much praise for his efforts on a dismal team, but he did manage to put up some very respectable numbers:
206 carries, 853 yds, 2 TD’s. That’s good for 4.1 avg on only 12.9 attempts per game.
One other stat to note: He’ll be moving to a home field (MetLife Stadium) that has a turf playing surface – Crowell averages almost a YARD more per carry on turf at 4.9. (Cleveland is grass) Oh, and he can catch too.

CHI Tarik Cohen – ADP 30
I really didn’t want to do this. We all know Howard is the bell cow in Chicago, but Cohen just provides too much upside at the position to not be mentioned. Rumour has it that the coaching staff is putting Cohen in more pass-catching situations to get him in the open field more. This just means a hell of a lot of trouble for the opposition. In only his 2nd season in the league, he’s had limited opportunities to showcase his full potential, but that’s what you have to go off in these dynasty situations!
He boasts a 4.3 yards per carry average on 87 career carries, with 353 yards on an INSANE 53 catches last season.
He returns kicks, punts, and even passed for a TD last year as a rookie. He finished with 1,578 all purpose yards last year. Nuts.
The guy packs so much big play potential with plans revolving a lot around getting him the ball this year. I’d say it’s easily worth a flier as a late round pick after all those starters are gone. You could do a lot worse.

https://twitter.com/SportsQuotient/status/937398898368352258

*based off 12 team PPR

Leave a comment and let me know who I missed, maybe we’ll get into a healthy discussion about it. Or tweet me @HollandGregJ

Fantasy Football Is Back; Don’t Sleep On These Players

It’s that special time of year again. You’re getting your notifications to sign up for another year in your fantasy football league. The draft isn’t too far away and you need a quick cheat sheet to help you out. Well look no further!

Everyone knows the big name guys who will go in the first round. This is for the lesser known “value” guys you should be picking up later in your draft. Have at it!

Ronald Jones II – RB

With the departure of Doug Martin, Tampa Bay has potentially drafted his replacement in Ronald Jones II. There is a lot to like about this pick. With all the attention of the class going to Saquon Barkley, Jones could easily fly under the radar to later rounds and still put up RB1 numbers. Rookie running backs have been thriving for a while and I expect Jones to continue the trend as a start out of the gate. Add to the fact that the Bucs passing game is a bit of a mess, they should be looking to establish a strong running game.

Jack Doyle – TE

A very underrated fantasy performer over the last 2 seasons. In fact he lead the Colts in catches last season as a tight end. Now with Andrew Luck back, he will have ample opportunity to tack on a few more touchdowns to go with his high volume of catches. One thing to keep an eye on is Eric Ebron who was picked up by Indy in the off season. He may steal a few catches away from Doyle, but not enough to offset the return of Luck. Expect another top 10 season from him.

Jared Goff – QB

The Rams offense hit on all cylinders last season, and while Gurley deservingly gets a lot of the credit, don’t forget the great play from Goff. Another year experience under his belt and the best weapon he’s had in Cooks should propel him to one of the best value QBs in the league. And let’s be honest, no one wants to draft a QB early.

Chris Hogan – WR

Okay so maybe not so unknown anymore if you paid any attention to New England last year. Hogan started 2017 as the third receiver and quickly catapulted his way up the depth chart. With Cooks gone and Edelman suspended to begin the season, Hogan will get a ton of looks. He proved to be a reliable catcher last year and he has no one in his way anymore. Snag him up before someone else does.

 

NHL 1st Overall Picks: Part II

To continue from yesterday’s post, we begin in 2010…

Taylor Hall/RNH/Nail Yakupov: 2010-12 to Edmonton
The Black Hole of the Edmonton Oilers #1 Overall picks. 3 straight years, 1 player remains. There isn’t much to say about these guys that hasn’t already been well-documented. Yakupov and RNH simply did not live up to lofty expectations, and that’s on them. Taylor Hall has always been a top-tier winger since his rookie season, but they lacked a real spine since he got there. McDavid came along but that was apparently the end of the road for Hall, who then got shipped to New Jersey and promptly won a Hart Trophy. Edmonton makes no sense. McDavid will probably retire an Oiler, and that’s because they’ll have no choice but to fix themselves for him, because he’s worth it. Or maybe he just ends up in Toronto too, right?

https://twitter.com/Tanner_Maurice/status/1014132461549301760

Nathan MacKinnon: 2013 to Colorado
MacKinnon got drafted into a great and fairly stable franchise. They’re long removed from their Sakic/Forsberg/Roy-led hay day, but things could have been a lot worse for a 1st overall pick. A theme with the “finished last but not tire-fire’ franchises, are that they have a backbone. A leader. Although Joe Sakic doesn’t lace them up anymore, his impact is still felt in this room every day, and that type of influence matters around NHL rinks. MacKinnon has enjoyed great success since entering the league and it doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon.

Aaron Ekblad: 2014 to Florida
The undisputed 1st overall pick in 2014, Ekblad brought a unique combination of size and offensive skill to round out a prototypical “modern day” NHL defenseman. Years ago, you may have taken pity on a guy who was going to the Florida Panthers, but he’s emerged with a Calder Trophy, and a nice group of good players around him. Ekblad may just find his jersey in the rafters as a career Panther.

Connor McDavid: 2015 to Edmonton

We all remember this moment:

Well, this now seems like an ancient photo of a fresh-faced McJesus. He’s come along way from the “pinpoint the moment his heart breaks” to now, an NHL scoring champion, Hart Trophy winner, a Western Conference final appearance, and he’s also caused the highlight reel to run out of film. Management has taken steps to solidify the middle of the ice with the signing of Draisaitl, but they do still lack scoring wingers. McDavid has committed his foreseeable future to Oil Country, and if they can shore up the wings to ensure perennial playoff appearances, that should go a long way to keep McJesus right there. It doesn’t hurt that Edmonton occasionally entertains the Great One in the building… Not a bad mentor to have at your disposal.

Auston Matthews: 2016 to Toronto

For the sake of sample size, Auston Matthews will be our last spotlight here. He had the best 1st game a rookie could dream of, potting 4 goals in his well-documented debut, and it culminated in his team clinching a playoff spot later that year with him scoring his 40th of the season. Although being knocked out of the 1st round that year, he again celebrated a Calder Trophy. In the past, fans and critics alike wouldn’t be totally surprised if Matthews took his skills elsewhere in search of a Championship. And while nobody can predict exactly what will happen in the future, the Toronto Maple Leafs are different now. They have, in Babcock’s words, ‘made it safe’ for players to be here. Management has cultivated a culture, a prospect pool, and a lot of skill around their top centre, and given him a ton of excuses to stay. I’m not afraid to jinx this one bit when I say Auston Matthews will not wear another sweater his entire career.

Care to disagree? Fight me about it here! @HollandGregJ on Twitter

*edit: originally had McDavid as the Calder Winner. He did not win the Calder as it went to Panarin that season. In my opinion, that is an outrage.

NHL 1st Overall Draft picks: Oh the Places They’ll Go (or not)

With all these contract talks and mud-slinging between fans, let’s try and take an objective view of what really matters to players and why they’d want to stay with or move on from the team that drafted them. Star players are just fundamentally different. They have needs others just don’t. Not only do they come with expectations right out of the gate, they need care and nurturing in order to help them blossom. They’re sensitive creatures, okay?

This talk has spiraled out of control ever since reports started surfacing about Tavares signing with Toronto on July 1st. Isles fans went from a quiet optimism, (ie; not giving him signing somewhere else a second thought), to flooding social media with claims that he’s overrated. Ok. Sure.

Since the NHL as a league is just fundamentally different than it was before the 2004 lockout, the appropriate place to start than with reigning Stanley Cup Champion and Conn Smythe winner, Alexander Ovechkin.

Alex Ovechkin: Drafted: 2004 to Washington
The Great 8 was picked as the savior for the Washington Capitals. He quickly impressed with 52 goals and 106pts in his rookie season. Simply put, he is one of the premier goal scorers in NHL history, and his resume speaks for itself. Why stay? Not only has Ovechkin himself impressed, but the team around him has been a juggernaut for years. He’s had a world-class centreman in Nik Backstrom, all-star defenseman in Mike Green, and Vezina Trophy winner Brayden Holtby over the years. Ted Leonsis is an owner who has taken care of Ovie (when a lot of people thought he was crazy to sign that 13-year deal), and done everything in his power to surround him with talent and coaching. We all know how it culminated in 2018, so it looks like a great choice all-around. Ovechkin will end his career as a life-long Capital.

Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin: 2005/2004 to Pittsburgh
The most successful duo in recent memory, celebrating 3 Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe’s, Hart’s, Art Ross’, Ted Lindsay, etc. While Sid is the Captain, you’ll often find Geno leading the Pens through season stretches, whether it be because 87’s hurt or he just found himself on a tear. And what can we say about Sid? He’s won everything, everywhere. Granted, Malkin wasn’t a 1st overall pick, but let’s be honest, he hits here. Why would they stay? You never hear rumblings of Sid needing to go play for his boyhood team, the Montreal Canadiens, do you? Why not? Mario Lemieux, who coincidentally enough, also grew up a Habs fan, that’s why. Mario has not only provided a home for Crosby in his early years, but a safe, stable, honest, place for him to grow his game and succeed. Stability and direction, (winning helps, too), are the most important part of keeping stars happy. They’re also buds – see below.

Erik Johnson: 2006 St. Louis – A highly touted all-around defenseman who wouldn’t necessarily blow your socks off with his offensive numbers, but could provide a bit at both ends of the ice. Let’s be brutally honest here – it wasn’t the strongest draft ever. He has already moved from St. Louis to Colorado where he seems to have found a good spot for himself with a young team on the rise. He’s signed there long-term, and there’s a good chance he spends the majority of his good years in Mile-High.

If it wasn’t simple before, it is now:

Patrick Kane: 2007 to Chicago
3 Cups. Toews. His home team? Buffalo Sabres. Enough said.

Steven Stamkos: 2008 to Tampa
He’s had his chance to leave, and decided not to. Why? His team is good, Steve Yzerman has put his club in a brilliant position to succeed, and I’ve heard something about the taxes in Florida being beneficial to players. The time he could have gone to Toronto, well, the team was terrible, so why would he?

John Tavares: 2009 to NYI
Came roaring out from World Junior stardom, and looked to continue his OHL dominance in the NHL for the Islanders. He was the saving grace for the franchise and a much needed breath of fresh air. He led them to 1 playoff appearance in 9 years on the Island winning 1 playoff series, (with Johnny getting the OT winner to clinch it). Equipped with 9 years of knowledge on how the franchise runs, he decided to take his talents home. In what seems to be an exception to the rule, (the one where players can’t return home without facing a lifetime of ‘traitor’ chants from their draft teams), and different than Stamkos’ situation, John was set up perfectly for a return to his home town. Free-agency in his prime, the Islanders front-office turnover, no home rink, and most of all, the Maple Leafs young skill being the talk of the NHL.

https://twitter.com/Ginohard_/status/1013476507593818112

Tomorrow we’ll pick it up in 2010, where the Edmonton Oilers kick off a string of terrible finishes resulting in 1st overall picks.

Disagree? I have terrible takes? Let me know it! @HollandGregJ on Twitter!
Continue reading “NHL 1st Overall Draft picks: Oh the Places They’ll Go (or not)”

Christian McCaffrey – Fantasy Boom or Bust for 2018?

Ahh, August is upon us which means it’s officially okay to start talking fantasy football. First up on the docket – Christian McCaffrey.

The sophomore running back for the Carolina Panthers has a year of experience under his belt and had a solid first season in the NFL. One aspect of his game that became clear very quickly was his effectiveness in the passing game, and the subsequent reluctance for Ron Rivera to use him as a bell-cow, four down back.

The fantasy rankings and stats back this up; McCaffrey offered a lot to Rivera’s offence just not as a typical four-down back.

2017 Yahoo Rankings and Stats (PPR League):

  • Ranked 13th in fantasy points for running backs
  • Ranked 48th overall for offensive production
  • 3rd in RB receptions (80)
  • 5th in RB receiving yards (651)
  • 3rd in receiving touchdowns for RBs
  • 2 rushing touchdowns
  • 39th in rushing attempts (117)
  • 42nd in rushing yards (435)
  • Scored 2 rushing touchdowns

Despite there being a large disparage between rushing and passing success for McCaffrey only this should matter – top 50 in offensive production. This includes QBs, WRs, and TEs, so not bad! Undoubtedly PPR adds a lot to this value, but that shouldn’t take away from McCaffrey’s attractiveness on fantasy market.

With durability not being an issue – only missed one game in college (2016) – the biggest hindrance to his success will be newly recruited running back CJ Anderson. Anderson was brought in to fill the veteran RB spot left by Jonathan Stewart who departed to the New York Giants this off season.

Anderson was 9th overall in rushing yard, breaking the 1000 yard threshold (1007), adding 224 receiving yards and a combined four touchdowns. The rushing yards are a concern as Anderson is tried and true as a tackle breaking back. He’s carried the mail for Denver over the last few seasons and has thrived on a team that has had a massive void at QB since Peyton Manning retired.

I think McCaffrey will be able to weather the storm that Anderson will bring simply because of the unpredictability of the Carolina offence. Cam Newton offers a lot as a QB, and while he does suck up some rushing yard situations, his elusiveness does open up short pass opportunities in the flats. Sure, if Carolina want to bash the ball up the middle of the field we could see more of Anderson, but Newton and Rivera’s dynamic offence should provide better opportunities for the versatile McCaffrey over Anderson.

Another hiderance in McCaffrey’s 2018 game may be the reemergence of Greg Olsen. Olsen only played in seven games last season after dealing with foot issues for the majority of the season. He’ll be back and motivated to play as he is in a contract year.

The connection to McCaffrey is obvious – Olsen will scoop up a lot of short yardage throws that McCaffrey benefitted from last season with the big TE out. He is the #1 receiving option in front of Funchess, Smith, and rookie DJ Moore, and should see the majority of the targets for 2018. McCaffrey might have to up his rushing game skills to see more time as an early down back this season simply to keep up with Olsen and the receivers on this roster.

Prediction time! So, where will McCaffrey slot in on a fantasy team and where should you draft him? He was top 50 last season sharing time with Stewart who knows Rivera and his offence well, so while Anderson does offer competition for carries it should be McCaffrey’s job to lose. If he can slot in as an RB-3 that you can pick up passed the second round you are set on good PPR value, without overpaying for back with competition. Not extremely reliable and certainly in a week-to-week battle, McCaffrey has something to prove this season in Carolina and could cement himself as the four-down back Carolina want.

Boom or bust? Neither. McCaffrey slots in right in the middle; appreciate the versatility and pick him up if you’re in a PPR league to see some big receiving yard return on the investment…. just maybe try and get Anderson too as a back up.