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THE FIRE SALE: Players Rising and Falling

The preseason is over…for the most part. We’re almost there everyone.

Unfortunately, the injuries hit hard before we got to the finish line. Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith were all lost for the season.

Obviously, we don’t ever want to see injuries but for fake football it’s better they happen before the start of the season so we can adjust. It’s not an issue if you haven’t drafted yet. If you did draft and selected one of those players, at least you have a couple of weeks to make roster moves. If you ended up drafting all three of those players, you can probably stop playing the lottery. My guess is you’re not going to win.

This is my last Fire Sale of the preseason. I’ll be back before Week 1 with players Going Up, Coming Down and my Sneaky Starts. Before we start the season, I just want to mention one thing. I put a lot of work into my predictions, as do others. I appreciate those of you who take my advice and draft/pick up players I recommend.

Just remember though hitting on guys like A.J. Derby and Aldrick Robinson is tough. Yes, I hit on Allen Hurns and Cameron Brate. Some say I’m a remarkable human being but it’s not the norm. As fantasy analysts we can’t give out Tom Brady and David Johnson. You know who wins fantasy titles though? Tom Brady and David Johnson.

You need to know the obscure guys too, that’s why people like me exist. Just go out and draft the best players you can get. Then if you get stuck in the later rounds, remember my voice in your head whispering this advice: “What are you doing you stupid bastard? Chris Carson and Alvin Kamara are still on the board.” Good luck this season. Hopefully I can help some of you bring home a fantasy title.

You can follow my crazy ramblings and fantasy observations on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. I never sleep and I respond to every tweet.

Going Up

DeShone Kizer, QB, Cleveland Browns

Kizer mercifully won the Browns starting quarterback job, sparing us from seeing Brock Osweiler be the only 6-7 human being on earth to get every other pass batted down at the line of scrimmage.
I’ve been high on Kizer since he was at Notre Dame. Please don’t be turned off from Kizer because of the propaganda that lunatic coach at Notre Dame spread about him when he left. Trust me, Brian Kelly will be looking for work in January. Kizer, on the other hand, gives an underrated Browns offense hope. This is what I said back in late July:

Hue Jackson is one of the best quarterback coaches in the NFL. Kizer is still raw but Jackson will help him develop quicker than most coaches. You’ll see a completely different quarterback in Week 17 than you will in Week 1. I believe Kizer will be a better fantasy quarterback than real life quarterback as a rookie. I see him being similar to Jameis Winston. He has a strong arm and he’ll make a lot of mistakes, but Kizer will also put up some big numbers.

Kizer is my dark horse to be an every-week fantasy starter. Even if he isn’t, Kizer will be a strong streaming option throughout the season when he has a plus matchup. The Browns offense is no longer the butt of jokes. That honor now goes to the New York Jets.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

If there’s one player you should own in every league, it’s Henry. He’s going to win owners fantasy titles this year.

At the end of last season when I announced my Jay Cutler-like retirement, here’s what I said about Henry on my way out the door:

I’ve been preaching all year, you should be all over him in 2017. That’s my final piece of advice for everyone. Draft Henry on your fantasy teams next year. All the touches Murray has received in two of the last three seasons will catch up with him. Henry will start to take over the NFL next season.

I’m a fan of the Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys, so I love DeMarco Murray, but I think Henry is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. If he gets an opportunity to be the feature back this season, Henry will be a fantasy monster. Don’t be afraid to over-draft Henry. He’s mustard.

Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

You don’t need to be the world’s greatest fantasy football analyst to figure this one out. Let’s do the math. Spencer Ware is out for the season. Hunt was pushing Ware for playing time before the injury. Andy Reid already named Hunt the starter. Charcandrick West is a JAG (Just a Guy) who was fighting for a roster spot with C.J. Spiller prior to Ware going down. Add that all up and it tells you Hunt has the potential to be a weekly RB1.

I don’t like to overreact unless I’m talking about Dak Prescott, especially with rookies, but Hunt has this job on lockdown. West had opportunities in the past and didn’t really do anything with them. Unless Spiller has a career resurrection, Hunt is really the only show in town. There’s a chance the Chiefs could sign a Ryan Mathews but for the time being, Hunt is in line for 20+ touches a week. Go all in on him.

Kendall Wright, WR, Chicago Bears

Cameron Meredith suffered an awful knee injury this past weekend. It’s a big blow to one of the weakest receiving corps in the NFL. Who does Meredith’s injury benefit for fantasy purposes? I’m glad you asked:

I understand White has been injured but if you watch him closely, he has a lot of trouble separating from cornerbacks. The Bears quarterbacks are looking his way but White either struggles to get off the line or to create space. In the NFL, you’re either open or you’re not. Receivers don’t have 10 seconds to get open. If you can’t get open, a quarterback is going to his second and third reads. Heck, If White played with a quarterback like Tom Brady or Dak he’d never catch a pass. Those guys go off their first read immediately if he’s not open.

Wright also played one season under Bears offense coordinator Dowell Loggains in Tennessee. In that season he saw close to nine targets a game. Wright finished with 94 receptions and 1,079 yards on 140 targets in 2013 with Loggains calling plays.

I like Wright to be the Bears top receiver this season out of the slot now that Meredith is out. Granted, being the Bears top receiver probably means catching 50 balls but it’s the best I got for you. In reality, Jordan Howard is the only player on the Bears offense with much fantasy value but if you’re looking for a receiver to take a shot on, Wright is the guy.

Tyler Boyd, WR Cincinnati Bengals

If you read my column last year, you know I was super high on Boyd. He was one of my top two sleepers with Cameron Brate. While Boyd didn’t have the year I predicted, he did have a solid rookie season, catching 54 passes for 603 yards on 81 targets.

Boyd only scored one touchdown and he was forced to play out of his role after A.J. Green got hurt. He’s best suited to play in the slot. Boyd is a good route-runner who isn’t exceptionally fast. I believe he’ll be even more effective in three-receiver sets with Green and the speedy John Ross this season.

The interesting thing about the Bengals is beyond Green, none of their receivers are getting much fantasy love. Boyd, Ross and Brandon LaFell are all owned in fewer than 15 percent of leagues. With defenses focusing so much attention on Green, another Bengals receiver will have fantasy value. That’s how it’s always been in the past.

I’m still high on Boyd. I haven’t seen anyone talking about him this offseason. Make sure to keep Boyd on your radar. The drafting of Ross has people down on him but they’re two completely different receivers. Don’t be surprised if owners are running to the waiver wire to pick up Boyd during the first month of the season.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and