2019 Fantasy Football: PPR Draft Strategy

June 3, 2019 | Posted in Sports | By

2019 Fantasy Football has four clear top draft choices. Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara. You’ve been dealt pick 5, 6 or 7, where do you go with your first round pick?

The top four running backs are off the board and certainly no one is going to criticize you for taking Melvin Gordon or David Johnson. But, do you feel good about either of these choices? What about DeAndre Hopkins? Do you feel Hopkins will be the top receiver in fantasy during the 2019 NFL Season? Picking 5-7 in your draft is a cunnundrum.

Running back a must in round 1

Looking past Gordon and Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, James Connor, Joe Mixon and Todd Gurley (ADP of 2.02 because of knee concerns) all make sense over Hopkins (1.07), Davante Adams (1.08), and Michael Thomas (1.10) in the first round because wide receiver is so deep when compared to a top-flight PPR running back.

The fantasy teams selecting Hopkins, Adams, and Thomas in the first round will be pressed into selecting Damien Williams (2.08), Dalvin Cook (2.05) (can’t stay healthy), and Nick Chubb (2.09) as their #1 running back. Meanwhile, teams who went running back in round 1 no matter what (think Sonny Weaver) will clean up on Antonio Brown (2.06), Mike Evans (2.08), Adam Thielen (2.10), and T.Y. Hilton (2.12) in the second round as their #1 wide receivers.

Wide Receiver in first two rounds?

When Hopkins, Adams, and Thomas come off the board picks five through twelve in your draft, one of those teams will not be able to pass on the likes of Julio Jones (1.11), Odell Beckham Jr. (2.02), and JuJu Smith-Schuster (2.04). These teams will have selected two wide receivers in the first two rounds and be at a significant disadvantage when it comes to risk. The number one goal in fantasy football is mitigating risk in what amounts to a weekly game.

Selecting from Devonta Freeman (3.03), Leonard Fournette (3.04), Josh Jacobs (3.07), Marlon Mack (3.06), Aaron Jones (3.10), and Derrick Henry (3.12) as your #1 running back results in a heavy load of anxiety and question marks. I’m drafting Keenan Allen (3.02), Amari Cooper (3.04), A.J. Green (3.06), Stefon Diggs (3.11), and Julian Edelman (4.02) ahead of any of the running backs listed above because I selected a running back in round 1, no matter what, and the listed RBs above are full of risk and question marks.

When I select third in the draft (Alvin Kamara), followed by Mike Evans (ADP 2.08) and Keenan Allen (ADP 3.03) in the third round, the foundation is greater than a team selecting a wide receiver in the first two rounds. There will be a breaking point if the first seven draft picks in your league are running backs. The eighth overall pick will be forced into a wide receiver, most likely Hopkins, followed by a run on Adams, Thomas, and Jones.

Fantasy drafts are about the first four picks

Analyzing drafts from my own league the past 25 years, the first four rounds are crucial. Successful teams, the first four picks usually panned out while unsuccessful teams traditionally blew their third-round pick. Injury? The invariable variable, ask David Johnson owners in 2017.

In a league starting three wide receivers, plus a flex, RB, WR, WR, WR in the first four rounds mitigate risk. Kamara, Evans, Allen, with the possibility of Brandin Cooks (4.06), Kenny Golladay (4.08) and Robert Woods (4.09) as a third wide receiver makes me feel better than a team consisting of Hopkins, Cook, Cooper, with a running back like Phillip Lindsay (4.04), Sony Michel (4.05), or David Montgomery (4.07) in the fourth round. The issue with all three of these running backs is the number of touches per game.

Fifth Round – The make or break round

RB, WR, WR, WR, with quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers (5.05) and DeShaun Watson (5.11) could make the fifth round easy. Obviously, you’re looking for another running back with Kenyan Drake (5.04) and James White (5.08) among the choices. Your roster requires a tight end, O.J Howard (5.06) and Eric Ebron (6.02) are available in the fifth round range. Obviously, Howard has tremendous upside yet has trouble staying healthy and Cameron Brate is still in the picture. Howard is the fourth tight end off the board behind Travis Kelce (2.05), Zach Ertz (3.01) and George Kittle (3.07).

Flex decision? Perhaps a fourth wide receiver? Sammy Watkins (5.03), Chris Godwin (5.05), Tyler Lockett (5.07), Jarvis Landry (5.07) and Mike Williams (5.12) all offer intrigue. Williams (no Tyrell Williams) and Godwin (no Adam Humphries in a wide open offense) are the best choices among this group.

My selection? Watson. He’s the top QB in fantasy this season. These are the kind of things you hope when selecting any fantasy player.

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2019 Fantasy Football: Five studs after Round Five

May 28, 2019 | Posted in Sports | By

Tevin Coleman, Running Back, San Francisco 49ers

The 2019 NFL Season is a mere 100 days away and fantasy mock drafts are gearing up establishing Average Draft Position (ADP) for each player. Who can you target after Round 5 to win you a title?

Coleman sits with a current ADP of 6.05 after signing a two year, $10 million contract with the Niners this past off season. Coleman’s explosiveness, evident in 2017 when he totals 927 yards on just 183 touches with 11 touchdowns, was on full display in 2018. An injury to Devonta Freeman in Atlanta sees Coleman start 14 games, rush for 800 yards, adding 32 receptions, and score nine touchdowns, though Coleman mysteriously lost touches to Ito Smith.

Jerrick McKinnon returns from injury in 2019 and Matt Breida cannot stay healthy, resulting in Coleman as the lead back in San Francisco. Grabbing a top tier running back in round one, followed by three wide receivers or a top tier tight end in the next few rounds, will leave your roster light at the running back position. Coleman is an ideal back to target.

Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans

Can Fuller stay healthy an entire season? The fourthyear receiver has a magical connection with quarterback DeShaun Watson and sitting with an ADP of 7.02, Fuller is an ideal receiver to target for teams who selected wide receivers early in your draft. Fuller has a seemingly magical connection with Watson and set the Texans’ record for most touchdowns in a player’s first 25 games. The trick is both Watson and Fuller being healthy at the same time.

David Njoku, Tight End, Cleveland Browns

The Baker Mayfield hype in Cleveland is real. Njoku, in his third year, is an ideal breakout candidate. Tony Gonzalez burst on the scene in his third year producing 76 receptions for 849 yards with 11 touchdowns. Njoku, after two seasons, has twice as many touchdowns (8) as Gonzalez after his second season in Kansas City. Njoku’s and Gonzalez’ receptions and yards from their second seasons are nearly identical. Fantasy football is all about mystical connections.

Njoku, with an ADP of 8.01, is being drafted after Vance McDonald from Pittsburgh, Jared Cook from New Orleans, and Hunter Hunter, returning from injury for the Los Angeles Chargers. The addition of Odell Beckham Jr., plus the continued development Antonio Callaway and Rashard Higgins, and Landry’s studliness from the slot creates the kind of opportunity for Njoku owners to profit.

Marvin Jones Jr., Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions

Jones Jr., sitting with an ADP of 11.08 offers ideal upside since target monger Golden Tate will be speding his days playing for the New York Giants. Everyone is raving about 8th overall draft pick T.J. Hockenson at tight end, however, the signing of Jesse James is flying under the radar. In 2017, Jones Jr. led the NFL at 18.0 yards per reception, producing 1101 yards with nine touchdowns. Injuries in 2018 keeps Jones Jr., and the Detroit Lions, under the radar during the 2019 NFL Season.

Matthew Stafford, Quarterback, Detroit Lions

Stafford is playing for his wife, recovering from a brain tumor. Think about the movie Rocky where Rock is struggling with his training and Adrian, pregnant, suffers a complication forcing her into a coma. Adrian comes through, saying “win rocky. Win.” Stafford, entering his 11th season, has not missed a game since 2010. The receivers are there, running back Kerryon Johnson is expecting to be ready for training camp, and the offensive line will be better.

New offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell is a run heavy coordinator on the surface, however, when the running backs are old school between the tackles Hall of Famers like Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch, the statistics are going to be skewed. My expectation, after Bevell sitting out a year, is a downfield aerial attack. Stafford as a back-up in the 14th round could be fantasy gold.

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2019 Fantasy Football: Are the Detroit Lions sneaky good?

May 25, 2019 | Posted in Sports | By

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The 2019 Detroit Lions could be full of fantasy football studs you steal in the fifth round and beyond in your 2019 Fantasy Football Draft.  Frank Ragnow, expecting a move to his natural position of center and Graham Glasgow moving to his natural position of guard, gives quarterback Matthew Stafford better protection to uncork a Top 5 NFL offense.  

Maybe.  The 2019 NFL Season is four months away.  Anything can happen and every franchise fan base has something to be excited about until the games take place.  Running back Kerryon Johnson, expecting to be fully healthy at the start of training camp, sits with an ADP of 4.9 in a ten team PPR league.  Better offensive line play resulting in fluid opportunity for the second year back out of Auburn to steal the show in the Motor City during the 2019 NFL Season. There’s also a chance stud route running and receiving back Theo Riddick will not be on the Lions’ final 53-man roster, although signing C.J. Anderson could raise concern on Johnson’s touch total.

Solid options at Wide Receiver

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (5.3 ADP) and fellow wideout Marvin Jones Jr., an absolute steal (11.06 ADP), both could eclipse 1,000 yards during the 2019 NFL Season with double digit touchdowns.  Danny Amendola could have fantasy viability from the slot although I expect second year man Brandon Powell to surprise.  Powell produced six catches for 103 yards Week 17 in 2018 during a 31-0 meaningless win against the Green Bay Packers. Trading target monger Golden Tate in 2018 to the Philadelphia Eagles creates 130+ targets requiring redistribution and spreading these targets among Golladay and Jones creates new, ripe, under the radar opportunity.

Hockenson the answer in 2019?

Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, selected eighth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, holds an ADP of 13.03.  Lions nation can hope Hockenson blossoms in his second year, similar to George Kittle in San Francisco, as rookie tight ends are not historically a difference maker in the passing game. Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, catching 33 passes with two touchdowns in his first season and finishing his first two NFL seasons with four career touchdowns set the standard for a tight end to breakout in their third year. Antonio Gates, catching 24 passes for 389 yards with two touchdowns in his rookie year, burst on the scene in his second season with 81 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Rob Gronkowsi, in his first season, caught 42 passes for 546 yards and ten touchdowns and is the best Lions nation can hope in 2019 from their rookie tight end. Hockenson’s blocking in the run game could help spring Johnson loose.  Matthew Stafford is being drafted in the 16th round or beyond and could have a 5,000 yard season with 40 touchdowns, producing just such a season in 2011.  

Stout defense in the Motor City?

Second year head coach Matt Patricia, signing former New England defensive end Trey Flowers to a mega contract, lauded for drafting cornerback Amani Oruwariye in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and trading for nickel corner Justin Coleman, hopes to solidify a pass defense anchored by the aging Darius Slay and missing all-world free safety Glover Quin.  Second round linebacker Jahlani Tavai was a curious selection, berated by nearly all analysts, and currently sits behind middle linebacker Jarrad Davis on the depth chart.  Linebackers in coverage will continue to be a hole on the 2019 version of the Lions and is the reason Devin Bush was a better selection at eight overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. Pittsburgh, trading up to draft Bush tenth overall, exemplifies “the rich” franchises from the “poor” franchises.

Detroit, ranking tenth overall in total defense by yards allowed and eighth overall against the pass by total yards allowed, could be a Top 5 unit, improving on their 22.5 points per game allowed during the 2019 NFL Season.  A top five offense and defense equals playoffs. Every fanbase, even the most tortured, can have hope.    

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2019 NFL Gambling: Are the Detroit Lions worth wagering Any Money?

May 7, 2019 | Posted in Sports | By

The Detroit Lions enter this season at a crossroads. Matthew Stafford enters his eleventh season with zero career playoff wins. Is this Stafford’s last year in the NFL?

Matthew Stafford’s wife has been in and out of the hospital suffering from a brain tumor. Stafford is under fire for his lack of playoff performances during his first ten seasons in the Motor City. Head coach Matt Patricia enters his second season at the helm and may not be the Grand Master everyone hopes after serving under Bill Belichick. 2019 NFL Draft pick T.J. Hockenson, selected eight overall this past April, may not offer the instant impact the Lions need to compete with Green Bay, Minnesota, and Chicago in the NFC North.

I want to be optimistic for the Lions as no city needs a title more than Detroit. Cleveland’s title in 2016, in the NBA, moved the city of Detroit to the top of the list for an embattled fan base in all four sports. Detroit’s 2004 title in the NBA was electric and unexpected, yet times were different in America because this was before the global economic meltdown in 2008. No city has suffered more from the economic woes from the economic implosion 11 years ago than Detroit. Detroit could so use a title. Getting swept in 2012 in the World Series by another improbable San Francisco Giants team only added to the Most Embattled Sports Fans, fans of Detroit sports through and through.

Lion’s open 2019 with a tough schedule yet maybe a win

A road game out west begins the Lions 2019 campaign, facing the Arizona Cardinals and first-round draft pick Kyler Murray. The game is currently listed as a pick-em with over/under of 49. Eastern time zone teams traveling out west put the Lions at a further disadvantage and playing on the road in the NFL is a challenge. Arizona’s run defense should be atrocious again in 2019, perhaps a fully healthy Kerryon Johnson, better play on the offensive line, and a big game from either Kenny Golladay or Marvin Jones Jr.

Week 3 of the 2019 NFL Season finds the Detroit Lions hosting the Kansas City Chiefs, 2019 AFC favorites. Could the schedule be more brutal for the Lions to open their season? Week 4, the Lions travel to Green Bay. Week 5, the Lions host the Vikings. The Lions could open the season 1-4.

Week 2 of the 2019 NFL Season finds the Lions in their home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Lions have a scheduling advantage as a west coast team traveling to the east coast in a road NFL game favors the home team. However, the Chargers went 12-4 last year and look to be every bit as competitive in 2019 with future Hall of Fame quarterback Phillip Rivers entering his age 38 season. Utilizing the 2019 NFL Draft, the Chargers improved their defense.

Can Kerryon Johnson stay healthy?

The rookie out of Auburn was brilliant times in 2018. However, a knee injury November 18, 2018, sidelined Johnson for a month and he was placed on season-ending injured reserve December 19th, 2018, with the Lions firmly out of the NFC playoff picture. Johnson’s slow start was compounded by poor coaching decisions to split carries with LeGarrette Blount. In Week 3, Detroit’s win at home against New England 26-10, Johnson rushed 16 times for 101 yards becoming the first Lion to rush for 100 yards in a game since 2013. As late as Week 5, a 31-23 win at home against division rival Green Bay, Johnson rushed 12 times for 70 yards while Blount rushed 12 times for 22 yards. Adjustments were made during the Week 6 bye involving personnel grouping changes and play calling.

Kerryon Johnson’s breakout was in Week 7 last season resulting in wise fantasy owners of Johnson profiting. Johnson rushed 19 times for 158 yards and added 21 yards on two receptions. The Lions triumph, 32-21, moved the Lion to 3-3 and the season. They owned statement wins against New England and Green Bay. There was a potential playoff vibe in the Motor City.

Detroit’s Week 8 loss to visiting Seattle, 28-14, begins Detroit’s slide out of the postseason picture. Johnson was held to eight carries as Stafford was forced into throwing situations yet the rookie nabbed six passes for 69 yards and provided the only cheers from the crowd offensively in the first half. Minnesota’s domination of the Lions Week 9, 24-9, sees Johnson netting 44 yards from scrimmage on 15 touches. Detroit’s 34-22 at Chicago Week 10 sees Johnson score two touchdowns on 89 scrimmage yards.

Week 11, against Carolina, Johnson was on his way to a big game before his late third-quarter injury, effectively ending his season. Johnson with 17 touches resulting in 97 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. The Lions won the game 20-19 yet the offense wasn’t the same without Johnson the rest of the season and the Lions would finish 2-4 in their next six games and a 6-10 overall record.

Johnson healthy and better offensive play (Hockenson is a Stud blocker) in 2019 resulting in 1,200 yards from scrimmage and double-digit touchdowns. Johnson tops the list on my fifth/sixth round RB, the second RB I will add to my fantasy roster this August. Fantasy anyone? Do you need some Fantasy Football Content?

Lions to win it all

Lions win Superbowl, .25 Unit (80-1). Lions win NFC Championship, .25 Unit (60-1). Lions win NFC North .25 Unit, (15-1). Finally, .25 Unit Over 6.5 wins (-110). It’s a $3,800 payout. And it’s gambling yo and it’s fun to make a wager with a friend and spend the season cheering for the Lions. Come on America, the Lions need all the fans they can get.

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2019 NFL Gambling: Are the Buffalo Bills worth a flyer in the AFC East?

May 5, 2019 | Posted in Sports | By

Second-year quarterback Josh Allen will be in the spotlight this fall in Buffalo. Does he have the team around him to wager a futures at 12/1 on a 2019 AFC East Title?

The Bills may have done well in the 2019 NFL Draft, landing stud defensive lineman Ed Oliver ninth overall and trading up in the second round to take versatile offensive lineman Cody Ford 38th overall in the second round. Third round draft choice, running back Devin Singletary, adds to an already crowded backfield with ageless Frank Gore and flashy, at times, TJ Yeldon. LeSean McCoy, entering his age 31 season, is still in the picture. Buffalo traded up again in the third round, nabbing Ole Miss tight end Dawson Knox. Buffalo used their first three draft picks to address the three biggest needs on a team finishing 6-10 in 2018.

Is there room for optimism in 2019 #BillsMafia? Certainly wagering a future on a division title this season is ludicrous. The AFC East is inhabited by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots. Yet #BillsMafia, there will come a time when New England does not win the AFC East and why not this year? Tom Brady enters his age 42 season and historical data suggests the decline in skill is a cliff, not a gradual sliding scale of no longer being able to perform at the NFL level. Brady is the #GOAT. A tenth Super Bowl appearance and a seventh title aren’t going to surprise anyone at this juncture in the NFL. Yet, #BillsMafia, it’s gambling. Do you think you would have fun wagering four $25 future bets on Buffalo to win the AFC East, AFC Championship, Super Bowl, and the Over on wins? I’m going to write you a thousand words on why this could happen.

Buffalo’s pass defense is Elite and Studly

A secondary headlined by cornerback Tre’Davious White and versatile safety Micah Hyde resulted in Buffalo’s pass defense finished as the top-ranked unit in the NFL in 2018 giving up 179.2 passing yards per game. Buffalo finished a meager 16th overall in 2018 against the run and adding Ed Oliver ninth overall is going to help improve a Buffalo defense finishing second overall giving up 294.1 yards per game. Scoring defense was another story with Buffalo allowing 23.4 yards per game, a statistic compounded by Buffalo’s league-leading 32 turnovers (23 interceptions, nine fumbles lost).

Josh Allen in his second season with better play from the offensive line should help reduce turnovers in 2019. Buffalo was second in giveaways and ranked eighth in takeaways meaning the defense was bailing out their rookie QB in 2018. A return to the median of 20 offensive giveaways in 2019 should result in a seasonal turnover differential of plus ten for Buffalo.

In 2018, five teams finished with a plus ten or better turnover differential. Seattle, Houston, Chicago, the LA Rams, and the New England Patriots. A plus ten turnover differential equals the playoffs.

A Money line bet for #BillsMafia to make the playoffs in 2019?

Problems at Wide Receiver

The Bills failed to address wide receiver in this year’s draft. Underwhelming Zay Jones enters his third year, the traditional “WR Break-out” Year. Signing Cole Beasley and John Brown bolstered the corps as a whole with the speedy Robert Forster, electrifying at times in 2018, expected to be on the field the entire upcoming season.

Buffalo lacks a true number one presence on the field but remember, with a franchise QB on a rookie contract, there’s a four-year window to win a title. Wide Receiver can be addressed in 2020 and perhaps now is a good time for #BillsMafia to familiarize themselves with Collin Johnson from Texas, Laviska Sheanult Jr. from Colorado, and Kendrick Rogers from Texas A&M. Big, physical, fast receivers in the mold of Julio Jones and Michael Thomas. The trio will be considered among the top wide receivers available in the 2020 NFL Draft Class.

The best defense in the NFL

Tremaine Edmunds was a monster in the middle during his 2018 rookie season ranking 13th in the league with 121 total tackles last season. Lorenzo Alexander found the fountain of youth this past season, posting a shocking statistical season ranking him fourth among eligible linebackers. Certainly, #BillsMafia, on a one-year extension, you have to believe Alexander has one more year in the tank.

The real surprise in this low-key 2019 #1 ranked defensive unit in yards surrendered per game is the growth of linebacker Matt Milano in his second year in 2018. Milano is a stud in coverage and improving against the run and one can expect further growth in 2019. Ed Oliver has the potential to be sexy.

Can the Bills put it all together in 2019? My cat and I think anything is possible yet with New England’s experience against Buffalo’s youth, 2020 may be a more likely year for the torch to pass in the AFC East.

Bills on the money line to make the 2019 NFL Playoffs

1 Unit, +500

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2019 NFL Gambling: Are the Cardinals worth a flyer in the NFC West?

April 4, 2019 | Posted in Sports | By

All the intrigue of the 2019 NFL Draft resides with the Arizona Cardinals and the number one pick overall.  Are they worth a pre-draft futures flyer at 25-1 to win the NFC West crown?

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The NFC West is the draft’s most intriguing division yet least intriguing from a future’s standpoint. According to Vegas Insider, the favorite Rams at 5/9 nets you $55 and some change on a hundred dollar bet. The Seattle Seahawks (14/5) and the San Francisco 49ers (13/2) do not offer the sexiest payout on a hundred dollar futures bet.  Do the Arizona Cardinals have any chance to win this division?

The Arizona Cardinals, at 25-1, representing a $2,600 payout, suddenly I’m interested because the hit is so desirable when placing future bets. The possibility of wagering on this particular future is intriguing because of Arizona’s pass defenseranking fourth in the NFL last season. Patrick Peterson plays shutdown cornerback. 2017 second round draft choice Budda Baker is expected to thrive in a primary role at box safety, can play slot corner, and Arizona didn’t bring back safety Tre Boston.

The Cardinals were fifth defensively with 49 team sacks last season. Chandler Jones remains one of the elite pass rushing specialists producing 13 takedowns of the QB last season. The defensive pieces added later this month in Nashville will improve a defense finishing 20th overall because the run defense was atrocious.

Arizona possesses twelve draft picks later this month in Nashville

Vegas future odds will adjust after the draft. One will gauge how well Arizona performed at this year’s draftby the shift in their futures odds to win the 2019 NFC West title. I’m interested in Arizona’s future at the current odds because I’m predicting Arizona trades down and does not use the number one overall draft choice to select Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray.

There will be a team trading up to one to select Murray. I’m predicting two trade downs in the first round for the Cardinals in 2019 because, after the Murray trade, someone trades up with Arizona to select Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins. I’m predicting Arizona makes their first selection around pick nine accumulating a mountain of draft capital in the process.

Arizona acquires massive early round draft capital

When Arizona nails these first-round trades, and ends up with one of the best offensive tackles on the board around pick nine, the Cardinals immediately become a better team. The twelve total draft picks are deceiving, many of them are in the seventh round as compensatory picks.  The trade downs in the first round later this month give Arizona the draft capital needed to be a lot better as a team when April 27th, 2019, arrives. Their futures odds will require adjusting.

The draft capital acquired in rounds one through three resulting from the first round trade downs allows Arizona to select an interior lineman to help their pitiful run defense. Terrell Suggs was brought in on a one year deal; there’s little doubt a pass rusher to compliment Jones is a top priority. Fresh options along the interior of the offensive line combined with multiple high round draft selections, in 2019, make Arizona a better team.  The Cardinals will shuffle their immense stock of draft capital into future draft capital including 2021 and beyond.

All eyes on Josh Rosen while unleashing David Johnson

The rookie QB, the Hall of Famer from the 2018 NFL Draft QB class, struggled because Arizona as a team was terrible. The offensive line was a mess juggling injuries all season. Rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk showed flashes of brilliance and Larry Fitzgerald continued his march to Canton and will return this season.  During the 2019 draft, with the mountain of round 1-4 draft capital acquired from two trade downs in the first round, a WR will be selected.

The secret weapon on the 2019 version of the Cardinals is running back David Johnson lost to injury for the entire 2017 season. Johnson, two seasons removed from leading the NFL in scrimmage yards with 2,118 and an astounding 20 touchdowns, played all 16 games in 2018. A rookie QB, a disaster on the offensive line, a defense unable to stop the run, all contributing factors to Johnson “struggling” for 1,386 scrimmage yards and double-digit touchdowns.

New offensive linemen, a weapon at wide receiver to compliment Fitzgerald’s quest to pass Tony Gonzalez for second all-time in receptions (Fitz needs 23 catches to overtake the Hall of Fame tight end). Fitzgerald has already cemented himself as second all-time in receiving yards, trailing Jerry Rice by 6,000 yards. Hey Vegas, I want a twenty-year future bet on someone breaking Rice’s 22,895 career receiving yards. I can help you set the odds.

Am I throwing my money away because the Los Angeles Rams are elite?

Is a future bet on Arizona winning the NFC West this season foolish because the Los Angeles Rams are easy money? Giggle. There’s no such thing as easy money when wagering on professional football. The favorite heavy Rams draw me closer to making this pre-draft futures bet. Expectations are sky high in Los Angeles, and while there are vibes of a letdown, it’s difficult to envision the Rams not winning the NFC West.

McVay is breaking in two new starters on the offensive line. Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews offer suspect options to generate quarterback pressure. There aren’t a lot of draft picks, seven in total and both Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters offer plenty of question marks at the cornerback position. Eric Weddle, 34, signing a two-year deal to play free safety and inside linebacker, Mark Barron signing with Pittsburgh create more holes for McVay to fill in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Future Hall of Famer Russell Wilson always a contender

The Seattle Seahawks are competitive because Wilson is their foundation, their rock.  He will lead his team to wins displaying unusual feats on the field despite being surrounded by a mediocre supporting cast.  The offensive line coming together last season was a pleasant surprise.  Chris Carson and his effectiveness make Rashaad Penny a terrible first round draft pick. Pete Carroll’s shenanigans at USC are going to cost him his job in Seattle, maybe this season. Carroll’s been connected to the college admissions scandal, resulting in the indictments of Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, of Full House fame.  There’s a possibility of a tumultuous season in the Pacific Northwest, yet the ever steadying presence of Wilson playing the game’s most important position will steady a potentially rocking boat. The situation in Seattle doesn’t scare me away from a Cardinals division title futures bet.

Niners and the great wide open

Will Jimmy Garoppolo return fully healthy? The San Francisco 49ers, holding the second overall pick in this year’s draft, will be drafting an impact player, perhaps Nick Bosa from Ohio State or Quinnen Williams from Alabama. With all the action over Murray at number one, the Niners stay put and select their best player in the draft at a position of need.

San Francisco has little options at wide receiver and signing Tevin Coleman combined with a returning Jerrick McKinnon creates confusion at running back. The Niners needs a season to sort things out and particularly needs to nail their WR choice this season. Is D.K. Metcalf worth the number two pick overall given San Francisco’s situation? What are the odds on D.K. Metcalf as the number two pick overall this month in Nashville? Prognosticating the future and measuring the results while creating documentation along the way.

Arizona, NFC West Champions, 25/1, 1 Unit.

If Arizona selects Murray with the number one overall pick, I didn’t throw away my money. It’s a risk of making a futures waivers this close to the draft. Should Murray be the number one overall pick, these odds will go to 35/1, meaning I placed my wager before the best available odds. Something draws me to the wager. A larger force. A synergy of the 2019 Cardinals as a version of the 2017 Rams.

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