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RISERS & FALLERS: Offseason Review

“It’s Brittney, b*tch.” – Michael Scott

Sorry, but I couldn’t think of a better way to welcome you back to RnF. Outside of the Kool-Aid man or Jack Torrance knocking down your door, nothing says “Hello” like a quote from The Office. We are rapidly approaching the single greatest day of the year – DRAFT DAY. With free agency all but wrapped up and the actual draft in our rear view we are starting to get a clear picture for 2021. We pretty much already know who gained value and who lost it. We’ll dive into a few players whose value went way up this offseason and who took a major stock hit. 

Quarterback

Risers

Matthew Stafford, LA Rams

Words can’t express how little we truly think of Jared Goff. Even in a situation with two studs at receiver and one of the brightest offensive minds in the league in Sean McVay, Goff looked lost and confused last season with the Rams. As for Stafford himself, it was pretty evident last year that his arm was intact but his supporting cast simply couldn’t meet expectations. You now get to blend these factors together and it looks like it’s going to be a delight to watch.  In LA, Stafford will have one of the more underrated deep threats in the league in Robert Woods and one of the best possession receivers in Cooper Kupp. People tend to forget the kind of numbers that a healthy Stafford put up when he had reliable, capable receivers. Stafford is one of the elite members of the 5,000+ yards passing crew, which is nothing to sneeze at. Even having to learn a new system, we believe that last year’s totals of over 4,000 passing yards and 26 touchdowns will be his floor this season with the Rams. 

Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans

The only other quarterback to gain as much value as Matthew Stafford is Ryan Tannehill. The former Dolphins quarterback was an absolute animal last season. He put up over 4,000 passing yards to go along with 40 total touchdowns as Tannehill was like a discount Lamar Jackson last season. Now, he gets the added boost of having one of the best wide receivers of all time on his side. We absolutely adore A.J. Brown – we like him over the middle of the field and underneath and having Julio Jones on the outside should leave Brown in single coverage, often against safeties and linebackers which will only pad Tannehill’s numbers. The Titans have the makings of a poor man’s version of the Kansas City offense and grabbing Ryan Tannehill after the Top-12 quarterbacks are off the board, is going to be the kind of value that wins leagues this year. 

Fallers

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers / Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans / Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

It’s a shame to put such household names on the decline list but there they are. But given their unique circumstances, you can’t help but scale these guys way back. Rodgers could sit out the entire season or he could end up in a crappy situation via a trade. Watson has the most hurdles out of anyone in the league to clear before he’s even able to return to the field. Matt Ryan just lost one of the top receivers to ever lace up his cleats to the Titans. There’s still a lot that can happen between today and kickoff of Week 1 but as of now, these guys are simply dart throws. Remember last season when Leonard Fournette and Le’Veon Bell were dart throws? How did that work out for you? 

Running Back

Risers

Austin Ekeler, LA Chargers

There were a ton of running backs available this off-season and for the sake of Ekeler fans, none of them went to the Chargers. Think about the signings of Chris Carson, Leonard Fournette, Kenyan Drake, James Conner, and Mike Davis to name a few who could have demolished Ekeler’s elite value. But instead, the suddenly surging Chargers stayed put and are once again counting on Ekeler to be the focal point of their offense. Ekeler suffered an injury early in 2020 but we should not forget how elite he was in 2019 with over 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns scored. He’s still a very worthy first round consideration that you may be able to get at a second round price. 

Fallers

David Johnson, Houston Texans

Johnson had roughly 1,000 combined yards and 8 touchdowns in his first season with Houston. While those numbers were good enough for a solid flex option or even RB2, it was pretty evident that Johnson’s special days are behind him. Adding to that dimming production is the fact that Houston brought in two other starter worthy backs (and maybe they’re in a panic over the DeShaun Watson saga) but there is in fact a thing as having too many running backs. Johnson is going to have to outplay the additions of Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram just to start with. He’s not a good bet to pay off given all the woes the Texans are currently dealing with. 

Kenyan Drake, Las Vegas Raiders

Drake had his chance to be the main man in Arizona and he didn’t fully answer the call. While the 1,000 combined yards and 10 touchdowns were decent, people drafted him in the hopes of stealing a borderline 2,000 total yard player. He didn’t meet first or even second round expectations and now he’s with a new team with a capable option ahead of him on the depth chart in Josh Jacobs. Jacobs did have some legal issues off the field this season but nothing sounds like a suspension is imminent. Unfortunately for Kenyan Drake and his fantasy prospects, he has gone from a workhorse back to a substitution off the bench. 

About Patrick White

Have been with Sharks for seven years. Been printed and published. Have been copied by, faced off against, and beaten some of the fiercest competition and abbreviated outlets in football. If you read RnF and live by the old "If you're not first, you're last" mentality, you'll be just fine.