The Biggest NFL Offeseason Storylines Impacting the 2019 GMRRFFA Season
Updated: Jun 28, 2019
To the Riff Raff faithful, first, thanks for all the kind words surrounding our new website launch earlier. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t take an extended lunch hour to update, so your support is greatly appreciated!
Next, let’s be real clear; I had a tremendous time in Italy with Mrs. Riff Raff over the last few weeks, sans kids, and I made the following observations:
Free Wi-Fi is the best way to get me to eat at an Italian establishment because I would not spend $10 a day on data charges from Verizon;
Carbonara sauce is literally the greatest thing I’ve ever eaten. Period. I ate it 32 times over 11 days (seriously, look at that!!!), and for those concerned about my health, just google “Positano stairs” and rest assured I’m probably a bit lighter than when I arrived in the motherland.
GMRRFFA Boy Chat needs me… I‘m embarrassed by my owners’ lack of engagement while I was gone. Just for the record, days I’m in the USA, Boy chat averaged 189 messages daily. During my European excursion, just a paltry 18 per day (yea, I checked it so do the math if you dare).
Finally, I remain obsessed with Todd Gurley. His health is the only reason I went on Twitter (aside from retweeting some left-wing propaganda) while away.
To that end, let’s go back a few months, back to March when my 2019 brain child of teaming Michael Thomas up with Nuk began, and my months-long advocacy program directed at Mark Hutchinson began, including an infinite number of status updates on Cooper Kupp and explaining to Mark he simply couldn’t afford to keep Nuk. In any case, it was 60+ days advocating to acquire the stud Hopkins.
Fast forward to the opening of the trade season, when moves were happening faster than a Boy Chat pile on of the Commissioner’s age. Garcia offered Gurley for $30 FAAB, and wow did I pounce. Controlling the rights to a potential top five back was too good to pass up, and unlike the Nuk offensive, I acquired Gurley within 30 minutes.
And now? I’m obsessed. There’s probably no bigger offseason conundrums than Gurley’s status, and man that got me thinking about the biggest offseason NFL question marks impacting the 2019 GMRRFFA season. Sit back and enjoy an article where the Commish actually had to do research! That’s right, I’m not simply taking pot shots at crappy teams today; instead, I’ll actually look at stats and twitter and stuff… get excited!
Question: Is Todd Gurley healthy?
I have a lot on the line here, right? I don’t care about his keeper price tag ($78) if he’s healthy because it’s a no brainer. Pitting him with Nuk and Thomas as the Commish’s three keepers all but assures the league that I’m a legit threat (even without him, I am so f*%# off), but getting a clear sense of his health ahead of the August 12th keeper deadline is critical.
The reports trickling in suggest he may be ok with a slightly lighter workload, but give me an RB averaging 1,136 rushing yards/11.5 touchdowns rushing/46 receptions/470 receiving yards/2+ receiving touchdowns (his career season average) all day… I would love a running back averaging 285+ points per season, especially considering I started Chris Carson and Spencer Ware in the playoffs last year.
Now, if he’s hurt – I cut him, or roll the dice with him and he doesn’t do anything all season, and both would be a bummer. Then again, the reigning champion kept Le’Veon Bell last season and that turned out ok…
Ultimately, Gurley’s health determines whether the Commish is a legit contender up there with the Sausage King and Tito Galen or simply a dark horse but not a clear cut favorite like Tito Galen.
Question: What happens to Tyreek Hill?
Let’s be very clear – Tyreek Hill is a scumbag. I’m not going to get on my soap box but his actions (or even his inaction) is abominable. That said, the fantasy football question is whether he is ultimately suspended, which I imagine he will be. In 2014, Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely for his actions, but there was video, which changed things. Also in 2014, Adrian Peterson was suspended indefinitely for child abuse (though later reinstated the following season). Gregg Hardy gone for 10 games in 2015. Ezekiel Eliot missed 6 games a few seasons ago for his off-field issues…
Actually, let’s stop. We all need a shower reminding ourselves about how awful some players can be, and even worse how the NFL incoherently doles out punishment for misconduct.
How it relates to GMRRFFA is absolutely with regard to Carlos, a top-four team last season who’s teetering on a tough 2019. If Hill doesn’t miss a large number of games, Carlos could possibly roll out Luck/TY Hilton/Tyreek as his three keepers, which is formidable. Hill posted 342 points in 2018 but this year there’s no way we can anticipate that type of production from Hill, especially given his keeper price tag of $59 if he misses anything more than 3-4 games.
Question: What’s up with the Steelers’ potential backfield-by-committee?
Look, I’m not here to cause panic for the reigning GMRRFFA champ, the Sausage King; he has a steal of a deal in James Conner as a $10 keeper, probably a top 3 keeper in the league ($22 for Kamara, Tito Galen’s top 10 WRs for $30, and Michael Thomas for $32 are arguably the other contenders). In any case, Conner is a stud, the 6th best RB in 2018 averaging 22+ per game. By comparison, only two other top-10 RBs last year (Kamara and James White) cost less than $30 to start the season.
In any case, with Le’Veon Bell out of the picture, there should not be some ominous cloud hanging over Conner’s 2019, except there is. Considering Conner was injured late last year with a knee injury, costing him a handful of games, and the Steelers drafted Benny Snell out of Kentucky in April’s draft. Now, there are reports trickling in suggesting fewer snaps for Conner especially in key passing scenarios where second-string RB Jaylen Samuels has a strong background as a pass-catching back.
This could all be for naught, but should we anticipate Conner garnering 72% of snaps (as he did in 11 of 13 games last year) with a talented Pittsburgh backfield? If he sees fewer snaps, and touches for that matter, does that drop him out of the top ten of running backs in 2019? And, seriously, what does that do for the Sausage King’s roster, given high-priced keepers in CMC (more on him below) and Travis Kelce, who likely has Sammy Watkins as the WR1 in KC for the foreseeable future which could impact the open middle of the field (see above)?
Question: What happened to all the love for Philip Lindsey?
Heading in to the offseason, Toby Kobach must have felt pretty darn good with his keepers, CHEAP Juju and $10 Philip Lindsey. The Denver back took over as the premiere back quickly last season, supplanting the 3rd round pick Royce Freeman as the lead back nearly instantaneously.
Lindsey averaged 13 rushes for 70 yards along with 2+ receptions over 15 games, besting Freeman in touches in all but two games. Averaging just north of 15 points per week, Lindsey was the 13th best RB in GMRRFFA and given his price tag, was a fantastic keeper for Toby. Now, what’s up with the rise of Royce Freeman, who has been receiving a ton of attention as a “change of pace” guy who will likely swipe goal line touches from Lindsey.
Aside from the 3rd round investment in Freeman, its unfathomable to diminish Linsdey’s role and form a quasi-RBBC situation; he averaged 5.4 yards per carry last year (compared to Freeman’s 4.0 YPC) and more than DOUBLED Freeman’s receiving targets. Regardless of Freeman’s role in 2019, Lindsey remains a great keeper, but Freeman sneaking touches away from Toby’s stud (similar to James Connor for the SK) ultimately cuts in to the value of Lindsey, and Toby’s cheap RB1 may fall to a mid-range RB2.
Question: Is Le’Veon Bell going to be good with the Jets?
This is the $102 question for Fredo Maisel, who smartly picked him up late in 2018 from the Sausage King. I’m guessing it’s almost impossible to say at this point though; while Bell is an incredible talent, remember when he sat out 2018 and James Connor dropped a top 6 RB season? In fact, Connor averaged 4.5 yards per rush in ’18, compared to Bell’s 4 YPC in 2017, but the difference definitely came in receiving, where Bell’s 2017 had 30 more receptions than Connor’s 2018, 85 to 55 (though Jaylen Samuels still picked up 29 catches so it sort of evens out). The question becomes whether Bell’s success was mostly do to a Pittsburgh offense which saw the 2nd highest Pass-to-Run percentage in 2018 though 11th highest in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Jets threw 57% of the time on offense, 20th in the NFL last year and averaged 4 ypc rushing (29th in the league). In fact, the Jets 2018 offense was straight up anemic, ranking 20th or lower in almost every major category (though a rookie QB can do that for you). More concerning, the Jets only targeted running backs in the passing game 102 times, or 6 times per game, last year. By comparison, Bell saw 85 targets (5+ per game) in 2017 alone.
The jury really is still out on Bell; is he the beneficiary of a good offensive system in Pittsburgh, or will he improve the Jets’ offense in 2019 with his extraordinary talent? For Fredo, with his bloated 2019 budget and a history of avoiding the post-season like an anti-vaxer avoiding a routine visit to the pediatrician, Bell’s season is literally make-or-break. If Bell even resembles a top-10 RB, dropping $100 on him as a keeper is worth it, given how few top ten running backs will be available in the August GMRRFFA draft.
I’d leave Fredo with this – which running back had the best season after missing a full season (non-injury) and, candidly, the results are surprisingly decent:
Adrian Peterson (suspended in 2014): In 2015, he led the league in rushes en route to amassing 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Marshawn Lynch (retired in 2016): In 2017, Lynch managed 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns for 17th best in the league.
So Le’Veon Bell is anywhere between the #1 and #17 back in 2019. I’m glad I dove into this question. Rest assured Fredo, you’re either getting Saquon Barkley (#1 in GMRRFFA in 2018) or Nick Chubb (#17). Actually, I’ve answered Fredo’s keeper dilemma here…
Question: Does Cam Newton’s health matter?
First, let’s be clear that I’m not entirely sure it does, especially since the 62-year old quarterback revealed this month he could be throwing again by training camp in a few weeks. Given that some pundits thought he could miss the entire season over the winter, this is good news for Panther fans (for which I don’t know any), but it marks the third straight season Newton’s health, particularly his shoulder, was a question mark heading in to an NFL season.
And lets be clear, Newton’s health matters in GMRRFFA. For the Sausage King, who has the stud CMC for a $72 keeper in 2019, probably not toooooo much. Coupled with Connor, the reigning champ has arguably the best RB tandem in GMRRFFA this year (apologies to Mark Hutchinson and Makese… just kidding about Makese). For CMC, there’s literally nothing stopping him as he literally finished .3 points behind Saquon Barkley as the top RB last season. Even without Newton, CMC performed, including a Week 16 game last year with Taylor Heinicke (seriously, who?) at QB, In that game, CMC posted 101 rushing yards and 12 catches for 77 yards, providing the Sausage King with his first championship.
For a GMRRFFA owner that should be monitoring Newton’s health, I’d look at the 2018 runner-up, Garcia, aka the Purveyor of Death, aka Crocs are Cool fan club president, who has a $17 keeper stake in potential stud DJ Moore. With Devin Funchess gone, Moore is primed for a step up, even with the additions of Chris Hogan and Ian Thomas. A healthy Cam Newton likely means a very cheap stud WR, making the Purveyor of Death a potential contender in 2019.
Question: Will Baker Mayfield take the ‘leap’ in 2019?
Hot takes abound suggest Cleveland is a legit Super Bowl contender and Vegas has them at 14/1, or fifth best in the league, to win the Super Bowl in February. It’s INSANE to think the Browns could be a contender given the last time they made the playoffs both Carlos and Stabs was still in diapers (1994).
Cleveland’s optimism obviously rests on the shoulder of Baker Mayfield, currently projected as the 7th best QB in GMRRFFA for 2019. Always a fan, Baker had a fantastic rookie season, averaging 64% completion percentage with 266 yards per game and 2 touchdowns over 14 games last year. To their credit, the Browns have loaded up to give him some help, obviously with OBJ and Kareem Hunt to go along with Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and David Njoku.
The question remains how good Baker’s second season is, something the Unicorn will be following closely after obtaining the QB for Tyler Lockett in May (FYI, guys, remember how I turned Lockett in to Nuk? I do). At $11, Mayfield is worth the modest cost, but if he transforms in to a top three QB ala Patrick Mahomes last year, the Unicorn could be in great shape…
Question: Does Dallas remain competent on offense?
Finally, speaking of the Unicorn, he could be in even better shape if Dallas performs. With all do respect to resident GMRRFFA Cowboy fan Toby Kobach, the Unicorn has more riding on the Cowboys offense than anyone not named the Clapper.
With $147 tied in keeper costs to Ezekial Elliot and Amari Cooper in 2019, a strong Dallas season means the Unicorn is back in contention after a disastrous 2018 campaign. For Dallas, it all starts with Dak, who averaged 18.2 points per game in seven outings last year before Cooper showed up; he jumped up to 23 per game with Cooper, which would’ve made Prescott a top 10 QB across a full season. In Dallas, Cooper gathered more than 64% of his receptions in just nine games last season, coupled with 725 receiving yards, just shy of 75% of his total yards on the season. Its no secret that both Prescott and Cooper improved tremendously when paired last year.
As for Elliot, well he averaged just 88 yards per game rushing pre-Cooper with a modest 2.5 yard bump after Cooper joined the Cowboys, and surprisingly just about 4.7 yards per attempt pre- and post-Cooper joining the team. Beyond rushing attempts, Elliot actually saw an increase in receptions post-Cooper, 52 to 25, along with an increase in targets.
All this is to say that, if these guys continue to benefit from the others, the Unicorn could be very happy heading in to the later portions of the 2019 GMRRFFA season. Perhaps, his only real concern is how many targets Tavon Austin steals from both… actually, just kidding. The Cowboys offense will basically be a three-headed monster, and both Cooper and Elliot are the key cogs in it, which to no one’s surprise, is the coolest hot take of the 2019 fantasy football season.
Holy shit, research is exhausting. Let’s be honest, making factually-flawed assumptions about which GMRRFFA team is better week-to-week is more fun than learning how to Google. That said, all of these questions are legit pointing to four or five teams having strong GMRRFFA 2019 campaigns (yes Unicorn, even you). We will have more to come in the coming weeks but in the meantime, let’s go back to that old Positano Swirl the Commish perfected: