Fantasy Take-Fest, Part III: Is Darrell Henderson Jr. poised to be a league-winner in 2020?

Yahoo Sports

This is Part 3 of a series in which I use the results of the recent “League of Leagues” three-sport fantasy draft as an excuse to give hot takes on all things (non-sports included at the bottom).

Part 1 | Part 2 Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

ROUND 16

211. Devin Singletary (keeper)

212. Deshaun Watson (keeper)

213. Corey Seager

214. Brandon Workman

215. Zac Gallen

216. Aaron Nola (keeper)

217. Dinelson Lamet   

218. Ja Morant (keeper)

219. Darrell Henderson

220. Michael Gallup

221. Devonte Graham (keeper)

222. Mallex Smith

223. Hector Neris

224. D’Angelo Russell (keeper)

Over 2019’s final eight games, Amari Cooper had 37 catches, 62 targets, 488 yards, and two touchdowns. Over that same span, Michael Gallup had 37 catches, 67 targets, 653 yards and four touchdowns with a higher WOPR than Cooper. As a sophomore, Gallup finished top-15 in yards-per-target and yards-per-pass-route despite leading the league in drops (fixable). Cooper (who has averaged just 53.6 yards and 0.28 touchdowns on the road during his career on the same exact number of targets as at home) was playing through a knee injury down the stretch, but that wasn’t his first durability concern (and he just got PAID). The gap between Cooper and Gallup’s ADP should be much closer.

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As much as I love Dinelson Lamet (his K-BB% would’ve ranked top-10 among starters last year if he qualified, and he should be better this season further removed from TJ surgery), Darrell Henderson Jr. was the best pick this round (and one of the best of the draft so far). It certainly wasn’t all Todd Gurley’s fault last year, but I expect Sean McVay to counter the NFL’s counter and produce a highly productive offense in 2020 (and even Gurley on a clearly compromised knee managed to score 14 touchdowns in 15 games last year as LAR’s back).

Henderson no doubt struggled as a rookie, but he owns the highest career-YPC in college history (and the Rams traded up to draft him) and looked noticeably better than Gurley at times when he got a chance to see the field last season. Malcolm Brown is a sleeper who needs to be added later as well, but Henderson is the obvious “league winner”-type pick and a top-20 RB on my board.

Keep an eye on Darrell Henderson Jr. in 2020. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Keep an eye on Darrell Henderson Jr. in 2020. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

ROUND 17

225. Marquise Brown (keeper)

226. Nick Anderson

227. Jesus Luzardo

228. Christian Wood (keeper)

229. Tim Anderson

230. Cavan Biggio

231. D.K. Metcalf

232. Yasmani Grandal

233. Nick Castellanos

234. Eduardo Escobar

235. Carlos Carrasco

236. Kyle Schwarber

237. Deebo Samuel

238. Bo Bichette (keeper)

If Nick Anderson really was in line to get the bulk of the save opportunities in Tampa, then he’d be my #2 RP … Jack Kogod followed up arguably the shakiest pick of the draft so far (Mallex Smith in Round 16 with OBP) with one of the best, grabbing Jesus Luzardo. THE BAT projects a 3.44 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP and any innings limit is now gone … THE BAT also projects Yasmani Grandal to lead all catchers in OBP this year, and the switch-hitter’s new home park in Chicago ranks second in the AL when it comes to boosting homers over the past three seasons.

The sophomore wide receiver class right now appears historically special: A.J. Brown, Terry McLaurin, DK Metcalf, Deebo Samuel and Darius Slayton (also Marquise Brown, Diontae Johnson, and Mecole Hardman). Loaded.  

ROUND 18

239. A.J. Brown (keeper)

240. Gavin Lux

241. Kyle Hendricks

242. Ronald Jones

243, Keston Hiura (keeper)

244. Lucas Giolito (keeper)

245. DeVante Parker (keeper)

246. Michael Conforto

247. 4th Supplemental Pick

248. Lance Lynn

249. J.T. Realmuto (keeper)

250. Adam Eaton

251. Raheem Mostert

252. Yordan Alvarez (keeper)

Deebo Samuel is a beast and tied for the league-lead in broken tackles among WRs, but the 49ers may regret drafting him over A.J. Brown, who tied for second in yards-per-route run as a rookie, finishing behind only Michael Thomas during his season for the ages. Brown also finished top-two in yards-per-reception, yards-per-target and fantasy points per pass route. Volume isn’t a certainty for Brown in Derrick Henry’s offense, but there isn’t much competition for targets in Tennessee and there’s continuity with Ryan Tannehill. There might not be a wide receiver I’d rather have more than Brown in dynasty leagues.

Raheem Mostert finished #1 in true yards per carry and breakaway run rate and #4 in yards per touch while also scoring 10 touchdowns last season (he became the first player in NFL history to run for 200 yards and four TDs in a playoff game during the NFC Championship). The 49ers have a crowded backfield, but none are close to as good as Mostert, and SF had the second-most rushes per game last season. A former standout track athlete (and avid surfer), Mostert isn’t without risk as a 28-year-old back with fewer than 180 career carries, but he also has legit top-five overall upside given his skills in Kyle Shanahan’s system (his early NFFC ADP is the RB29, laughably sandwiched between Kerryon Johnson and Phillip Lindsay).

Ronald Jones has big upside with Tom Brady joining the rest of Tampa Bay’s weapons and with no other competition currently in the backfield, but his pass protection (and fumbling) issues may prove too big of a roadblock. The Bucs are a lock to bring in RB help.

Round 18 is filled with keepers who were added through free agency last year, including my DeVante Parker. He quietly ranked fourth in air yards, is in a sneaky good situation as his team’s clear WR alpha with a shaky RB group and Ryan Fitzpatrick slinging it in a quick-paced offense. Parker is a top-12 fantasy WR on my board.

I considered Yordan Alvarez a first-round fantasy value available at a third-round cost, although admittedly his barking knees gave me some pause. Still, assuming a full-time DH role can keep his bat in the lineup, he’s someone to target when baseball resumes. Alvarez hit .343 with 23 homers and 71 RBI over 56 games in Triple-A last season and then proceeded to somehow post an even better wRC+ in the majors (behind only Mike Trout). As the great “Draft Cheat” pointed out, Alvarez just recorded the third-best slugging percentage in MLB history at age 22 or younger.

ROUND 19

253. Bojan Bogdanovic

254. Tyler Boyd

255. 5th Supplemental Pick

256. Kareem Hunt (keeper)

257. Andrew Heaney

258. Justin Turner

259. Derrius Guice

260. Dejounte Murray

261. Emmanuel Sanders

262. Wendell Carter Jr.

263. Jorge Polanco

264. Collin Sexton

265. Courtland Sutton (keeper)

266. Hansel Robles

I loved one Angels pitcher who went this round (Andrew Heaney) and disliked another (Hansel Robles). Heaney is going to finish as a top-15 fantasy SP this year, yet his Yahoo ADP is 180. Meanwhile, THE BAT projects Robles to finish with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. Derek Carty’s system projects Angels setup man Ty Buttrey for a 3.68 ERA with a 1.27 WHIP, so he looks like the better fantasy pick even without the major differences in price (the latter is free).

Only health and age concerns prevented Justin Turner from going much higher in an OBP format. Turner may not be too worried about the season starting late, as he’s gone nuts after the last two All-Star breaks, posting an MLB-high 190 wRC+ in 2018 and a 150 wRC+ last year … Derrius Guice was positively eye-opening when on the field last year, but he’s a long shot to ever stay healthy at this point.  

ROUND 20

267. David Dahl

268. Jordan Howard

269. Sony Michel

270. Marvin Bagley

271. Jose Leclerc

272. Craig Kimbrel

273. Lorenzo Cain   

274. Pete Alonso (keeper)

275. James Paxton

276. Dak Prescott

277. Eugenio Suarez (keeper)

278. Hyun-Jin Ryu

279. Christian Kirk

280. Elvis Andrus

James Paxton is one of the bigger beneficiaries of baseball’s truncated season, and he needs to be bumped up draft boards … I still can’t get over the Kings somehow botching a clear two-player draft while holding the #2 pick ... Sony Michel somehow ranked top-10 in carries, red-zone touches, average defenders in the box and #2 in Game Script yet finished #40 in fantasy points per game. Now imagine him with Jarrett Stidham as his QB instead of Tom Brady. Michel is a pass for me (and don’t forget about Damien Harris).

ROUND 21

281. Danny Santana

282. Julian Edelman

283. Mikal Bridges

284. Hunter Henry

285. Dennis Schroder

286. David Price

287. Phillip Lindsay

288. Keone Kela 

289. Willson Contreras

290. Oscar Mercado

291. Domantas Sabonis (keeper)

292. Madison Bumgarner

293. Carlos Martinez

294. Giovanny Gallegos

David Price has feeling in his pitching hand again after finally undergoing long overdue surgery. Combine that with his move to the National League (and all the added benefits the Dodgers also bring) and a pitcher’s park, and he’s a top-30 SP on my board. Price just posted a 3.62 FIP with a career-high K% while pitching in the AL East and Fenway Park. He’s expected to see increased velocity with the improved hand, so he’s a dark horse Cy Young candidate. It’s laughable (albeit not as funny as this Mitch Hedberg set) Madison Bumgarner has a higher ADP. Mason Saunders is a national treasure, but he also had a 5.16 ERA over the last two seasons when not throwing in his insanely pitcher-friendly SF home park.

Will 2020 be comeback season for David Price? Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Will 2020 be comeback season for David Price? Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Julian Edelman was among the league leaders in drops and ranked 66th in fantasy points per target last year. He’s never recorded eight scores or 1,150 yards in a season, will be 34 years old soon and just saw one of the biggest downgrades at quarterback in NFL history. He’s not even a top-50 WR on my board.

ROUND 22

295. Matt Ryan

296. Darren Waller

297. Ian Kennedy

298. Russell Wilson (keeper)

299. Byron Buxton

300. Max Fried

301. Draymond Green 

302. Blake Griffin

303. Archie Bradley

304. Max Kepler

305. Mike Williams

306. Steven Adams

307. Amed Rosario

308. Will Fuller (keeper)

Mike Williams went from catching 10 touchdowns on just 66 targets in 2018 to scoring only twice on 89 targets (in fewer games) during Year Three in the league, as regression swung to the extreme. He’ll now have Tyrod Taylor throwing to him (with Hunter Henry around), so he’s another WR outside my top-50 being drafted too early. Of course, things could change if the Chargers get Tua Tagovailoa, who PFF still considers one of the 10 best prospects to enter the league since they started covering the draft.

According to RAPM and PIPM, my guy Draymond Green is one of the best basketball players ever (and Chris Paul is criminally underrated).

Byron Buxton was sneakily up against making Opening Day while recovering from shoulder surgery, but that’s no longer a concern, and his upside remains through the roof. He’s essentially Luis Robert — only 80 picks cheaper.

ROUND 23

309. Tarik Cohen

310. Mike Conley

311. De’Aaron Fox (keeper)

312. Khris Davis

313. Kyle Tucker

314. Sean Dolittle

315. 6th Supplemental Pick

316. Chris Paddack (keeper)  

317. Mecole Hardman

318. Serge Ibaka

319. Marvin Jones

320. Yasiel Puig

321. Brandon Clarke

322. Jean Segura

Mecole Hardman didn’t have as big of a rookie season as originally expected after Tyreek Hill ultimately wasn’t suspended, but he led the NFL in yards-per-target, yards-per-reception, QB Rating and fantasy points per target, which seems like a positive during his first year in the league. Hardman’s 40-time was in the 99th percentile, and he scored seven touchdowns last year while barely seeing the field (his snap share ranked #138). Sammy Watkins will return to KC after reworking his contract, but he has an extensive injury history, and there’s a universe in which Hardman becomes KC’s WR1 if the diminutive Hill goes down too.

In an offense that should be favored to lead the NFL in points (Patrick Mahomes wasn’t even healthy and didn’t learn how to read defenses until halfway through last year) and given his skillset entering Year Two, Hardman is the best wide receiver flier to target later in fantasy drafts.  

DALTON’S BONUS TAKES

My Top-15 TV Shows All-Time

1) Curb Your Enthusiasm

2) Seinfeld

3) The Wire

4) Breaking Bad

5) Deadwood

6) Da Ali G Show

7) The Sopranos

8) Better Call Saul

9) The Shield

10) Twin Peaks

11) Mad Men

12) Black Mirror

13) Rectify

14) Lost

15) Fargo

My Favorite Podcasts (miniseries)

1) Dirty John 

2) S-Town 

3) The Thing About Pam

DDD’s Music Picks: Arcade Fire – “Normal Person” ... My Morning Jacket – “Evil Urges” ... Fiona Apple – “Anything We Want” ... The Smashing Pumpkins – “Eye” & “Thirty-Three” ... Sufjan Stevens – “Get Real Get Right” & “Jacksonville” ... The National – “Bloodbuzz Ohio” & “I Need My Girl” ... Tool – “H.”

Here’s a Classic Longread: “The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist”

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