Fantasy Football Rankings 2019-2020: TE (Half PPR)

By:  Justin Holden

Lit Sports Online brings you fantasy football rankings for the 2019-2020 NFL season.  Today’s article covers tight end rankings in a half PPR scoring format.  Not only do we provide a ranked list of tight ends, but you will also see regular season stat projections for each player.  Then, a brief summary will be written on a few players that we see as significantly more valuable or less valuable versus their average draft position (ADP).  Without further ado, here are the rankings:

Rank Player Name Team Name Projected Stat Line
1 Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs 97 catches, 1250 yds, 9 TDs
2 O.J. Howard Tampa Bay Buccaneers 71 catches, 1070 yds, 9 TDs
3 George Kittle San Francisco 49ers 82 catches, 1100 yds, 5 TDs
4 Zach Ertz Philadelphia Eagles 85 catches, 1140 yds, 3 TDs
5 Vance McDonald Pittsburgh Steelers 72 catches, 960 yds, 4 TDs
6 Jared Cook New Orleans Saints 63 catches, 830 yds, 6 TDs
7 Hunter Henry Los Angeles Chargers 65 catches, 800 yds, 6 TDs
8 Evan Engram New York Giants 69 catches, 850 yds, 4 TDs
9 Chris Herndon New York Jets 62 catches, 810 yds, 5 TDs
10 Jordan Reed Washington Redskins 60 catches, 780 yds, 5 TDs
11 David Njoku Cleveland Browns 56 catches, 720 yds, 5 TDs
12 Jack Doyle Indianapolis Colts 54 catches, 660 yds, 5 TDs
13 Trey Burton Chicago Bears 53 catches, 630 yds, 4 TDs
14 Austin Hooper Atlanta Falcons 56 catches, 610 yds, 4 TDs
15 Kyle Rudolph Minnesota Vikings 54 catches, 590 yds, 4 TDs
16 Eric Ebron Indianapolis Colts 48 catches, 550 yds, 5 TDs
17 Delanie Walker Tennessee Titans 51 catches, 580 yds, 4 TDs
18 Greg Olsen Carolina Panthers 57 catches, 550 yds, 3 TDs
19 Jimmy Graham Green Bay Packers 50 catches, 510 yds, 4 TDs
20 Dallas Goedert Philadelphia Eagles 39 catches, 400 yds, 6 TDs
21 Mark Andrews Baltimore Ravens 44 catches, 490 yds, 4 TDs
22 Mike Gesicki Miami Dolphins 42 catches, 470 yds, 4 TDs
23 Noah Fant Denver Broncos 45 catches, 500 yds, 3 TDs
24 Tyler Eifert Cincinnati Bengals 40 catches, 400 yds, 4 TDs
25 Jason Witten Dallas Cowboys 49 catches, 440 yds, 2 TDs
26 T.J. Hockenson Detroit Lions 41 catches, 420 yds, 3 TDs
27 Gerald Everett Los Angeles Rams 37 catches, 390 yds, 3 TDs
28 Matt LaCosse New England Patriots 34 catches, 350 yds, 3 TDs
29 Ricky Seals-Jones Arizona Cardinals 30 catches, 320 yds, 2 TDs
30 Jesse James Detroit Lions 33 catches, 300 yds, 2 TDs
31 Jonnu Smith Tennessee Titans 26 catches, 290 yds, 2 TDs
32 Jordan Thomas Houston Texans 30 catches, 270 yds, 2 TDs
33 Luke Willson Oakland Raiders 29 catches, 270 yds, 2 TDs
34 Dawson Knox Buffalo Bills 30 catches, 250 yds, 2 TDs
35 Geoff Swaim Jacksonville Jaguars 29 catches, 260 yds, 1TD
36 Nick Vannett Seattle Seahawks 21 catches, 220 yds, 2 TDs
37 Hayden Hurst Baltimore Ravens 30 catches, 230 yds, 1 TD
38 Charles Clay Arizona Cardinals 20 catches, 200 yds, 1 TD
39 Jake Butt Denver Broncos 18 catches, 190 yds, 1 TD
40 Will Dissly Seattle Seahawks 19 catches, 180 yds, 1 TD

Dissenting Opinions:

O.J. Howard – ADP 4, our ranking is 2.

I have O.J. Howard penciled in as a safe, elite option at the tight end position.  Not only was O.J. Howard one of the most efficient tight ends last year and one of the leaders in air yards at the position, but he’s a young, complete tight end that is just starting to enter his prime.  We must also consider that Tampa Bay will have a poor defense and poor run game once again, which could lead to the Tampa Bay offense leading the league in pass attempts.  O.J. Howard will have to compete for targets with the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but at the end of the day, you can see from my projections that I’m predicting Howard to be a touchdown machine and make the most of every opportunity that comes his way.

Vance McDonald – ADP 10, our ranking is 5.

There is a significant difference between the value I see in Vance McDonald versus the value that the general mock drafting public sees in him.  While Vance McDonald has been pegged as a popular sleeper pick this season, I go further than that by straight up predicting him to finish as a top five tight end.  I don’t see McDonald scoring many touchdowns because of how run heavy this Pittsburgh Steelers offense will likely be in the red zone.  However, I do expect McDonald to smash with a healthy serving of catches and yards between the 20’s.  We must consider that Jesse James and Antonio Brown have both left town.  That’s a lot of vacated targets.  And I certainly don’t see them all going to Donte Moncrief or James Washington.

Chris Herndon – ADP 16, our ranking is 9.

It’s time to fade the public once again because they are straight up snoozin’ on Chris Herndon.  Herndon was a usable fantasy asset last year as a rookie, despite the fact he had limited targets to work with.  With Sam Darnold and the New York Jets offense on the rise, and Herndon now established as the unquestioned #1 tight end on the Jets’ depth chart, there’s no reason he shouldn’t exceed expectations this season.  Herndon is likely to be Sam Darnold’s favorite target in the passing game.  At this point, I believe that Herndon is significantly undervalued in both dynasty and seasonal leagues.

Jordan Reed – ADP 20, our ranking is 10.

Whether it be Duane Haskins or Case Keenum starting for the Washington Redskins this season, someone will have to be catching their passes.  News flash:  Jordan Reed is not dead yet.  There seems to be a narrative floating around that Jordan Reed is washed.  But the fact of the matter is, Reed is only 29 years old.  Tight ends can be productive far beyond age 29, especially if they have the athleticism that Reed does.  Reed has shown what he can do when healthy and in the starting lineup.  Is there risk in drafting Jordan Reed?  Absolutely.  His injury history remains a valid concern.  But if you’re in the final rounds of your draft and haven’t taken a tight end yet, it makes sense to take a flier on Reed.  He should produce admirably as long as he stays healthy, and that makes him a high upside selection when compared to other tight ends that are available in the final rounds of your fantasy draft.

Jack Doyle – ADP 22, our ranking is 12 / Eric Ebron – ADP 7, our ranking is 16

People must be thinking that Jack Doyle died after last season.  Granted, he only played 6 games due to injury, and finished last season with a poor stat line.  In Doyle’s absence, Eric Ebron smashed expectations en route to a 13 touchdown season.  In my view, both tight ends will be utilized this season in the Colts’ offense.  And given that Andrew Luck could have a career year, this makes Jack Doyle an incredible value where he is currently being selected in fantasy drafts.  Meanwhile, Ebron’s touchdown total from last year looks unrepeatable.  I expect Ebron to receive less targets this year and for his efficiency to drop.  Obviously, Ebron is still worth rostering in most leagues, but he should be going much later in drafts than he is.

Zach Ertz – ADP 2, our ranking is 4.

While I still expect Zach Ertz to have a top five finish this season, that is more of a testament to how low the bar is for tight end production compared to other positions.  I’m projecting Ertz to only score three touchdowns this season, as teammate Dallas Goedert is emerging as a clear red zone threat that is a lock to vulture touchdowns.  The Eagles will likely use their running backs in the red zone a lot as well.  Ertz remains a beast between the 20’s, but a projected reduction in catches and touchdowns compared to last season has him lower in our rankings for this season.

T.J. Hockenson – ADP 13, our ranking is 26.

Shiny new toy syndrome is on full display here with T.J. Hockenson’s ridiculous ADP.  I get that Hockenson is a complete tight end prospect and that the Lions’ offense will likely perform better this season.  But come on.  The dude is still a rookie.  Rookie tight ends almost never produce enough to be relied on as a fantasy starter, especially at the beginning of the season.  Drafting Hockenson as your starting tight end in a seasonal league is a mistake.  Let’s not forget that Jesse James is now in Detroit and will get his targets as well.  If you’re going to gamble on a rookie tight end this season, you’re better off taking a flier on Noah Fant, because he is a move tight end and Joe Flacco is notorious for targeting his tight ends.

Benjamin Watson – ADP 29, we have him unranked.

Benjamin Watson is on the New England Patriots now and will try to fill the shoes of retired Rob Gronkowski.  However, Watson will serve a four game suspension due to performance enhancing drug use.  With Austin Seferian-Jenkins cut from the team, Matt LaCosse is now the projected starter.  As of right now, LaCosse could be selected in the final round of your fantasy draft.  If you believe that Tom Brady won’t be able to avoid targeting his tight end heavily, then the recommendation is to draft LaCosse and pickup Watson off of waivers in the event that he eventually leapfrogs LaCosse on the depth chart.  The more likely scenario, however, is that Tom Brady heavily targets his slot receivers in all areas of the field.  Rookie wide receiver N’Keal Harry will likely emerge as a preferred target for Brady when passing into the end zone.

 

 

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Fantasy Football Rankings 2019-2020: QB

By:  Justin Holden

1 Pat Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs
2 Andrew Luck Indianapolis Colts
3 Baker Mayfield Cleveland Browns
4 Russell Wilson Seattle Seahawks
5 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers
6 Drew Brees New Orleans Saints
7 Deshaun Watson Houston Texans
8 Carson Wentz Philadelphia Eagles
9 Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
10 Matt Ryan Atlanta Falcons
11 Matthew Stafford Detroit Lions
12 Philip Rivers Los Angeles Chargers
13 Mitch Trubisky Chicago Bears
14 Dak Prescott Dallas Cowboys
15 Jameis Winston Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16 Lamar Jackson Baltimore Ravens
17 Tom Brady New England Patriots
18 Jared Goff Los Angeles Rams
19 Kirk Cousins Minnesota Vikings
20 Jimmy Garoppolo San Francisco 49ers
21 Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh Steelers
22 Derek Carr Oakland Raiders
23 Sam Darnold New York Jets
24 Kyler Murray Arizona Cardinals
25 Marcus Mariota Tennessee Titans
26 Josh Allen Buffalo Bills
27 Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals
28 Nick Foles Jacksonville Jaguars
29 Josh Rosen Miami Dolphins
30 Case Keenum Washington Redskins
31 Joe Flacco Denver Broncos
32 Eli Manning New York Giants

Key Differences – LSO Rankings vs Average Draft Position (ADP)

Baker Mayfield – Has an ADP of 5 but I have him ranked at 3.  With a season of NFL experience under his belt now, and an offense loaded with play makers such as the the newly acquired Odell Beckham Jr, I expect Mayfield to have a Pat Mahomes style breakout in his second season.  Ultimately I think AFC North defenses (minus the Bengals) will find a way to put a cap on Mayfield’s upside, preventing him from finishing as the #1 QB.  But he’s for damn sure going to get close.

Matthew Stafford – Has an ADP of 23 but I have him ranked at 11.  Stafford is coming off of a poor season where he threw just 21 passing touchdowns.  But ultimately, we are talking about a player who has finished as a top ten quarterback multiple times over the course of his career and more often than not returns value on his draft position.  Judging by Stafford’s current ADP, he will return value on his draft position in a big way.  Fundamentally, I do not see a huge difference between Stafford and similar pocket passers such as Ryan and Rivers.  This is why I have them all ranked similarly.  Expect a bounce back season for the Lions’ offense.

Mitch Trubisky – Has an ADP of 19 but I have him ranked at 13.  Trubisky missed two games last season and still finished as QB15.  Trubisky showed that he is capable of putting up monster games, like the one against Tampa Bay where he threw for six passing touchdowns.  Other than the loss of Jordan Howard, who underwhelmed last season, not much has changed for the Chicago Bears offense.  Barring injury, I see no reason why Trubisky’s production would take a dip compared to last season.

Ben Roethlisberger – Has an ADP of 13 but I have him ranked at 21.  Roethlisberger is coming off of a huge season, there’s no doubt about it.  Despite throwing double digit interceptions, his 31 passing TD’s and 5,000+ passing yards returned great value for his fantasy owners.  So why am I so low on Big Ben this year?  The loss of Antonio Brown will hurt.  And every indication right now is that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be going to a run heavy offense this season.  Roethlisberger is 37 and has taken a beating over his career due to his style of play.  He’s always an injury risk, and I’d be shocked if he didn’t retire by the end of this season.

Tom Brady – Has an ADP of 14 but I have him ranked at 17.  I believe I’m actually being generous with my Tom Brady ranking because I have seen other websites rank him as low as 20.  Let’s face it, Brady’s team won the super bowl last season, but they did it without him throwing a touchdown pass.  Tom Brady is the oldest starting quarterback in the league.  Rob Gronkowski retired in the offseason.  Brady did not finish as a top ten quarterback last season and I see no catalyst for him to do so this season.  While Brady seems determined to wage war with Father Time, I suggest you let someone else draft him, as he will probably go even higher than his current ADP as we get closer to the start of the season.

Kirk Cousins – Has an ADP of 12 but I have him ranked at 19.  As much as I’d like to move Cousins up in my rankings, I just can’t do it.  Yes, he has Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs at his disposal, and both are excellent receivers.  However, I just don’t see game script allowing Cousins to be a big time fantasy quarterback.  The Minnesota Vikings have a strong defense, and Dalvin Cook is going to get his carries.  The way this team is built, I just don’t see them airing it out enough to make Cousins a huge factor in fantasy.  Significant injuries on the Vikings defense or to Cook would provide a catalyst for Cousins to air it out more and finish with more fantasy points, but this is not something that I am betting on.

  

 

 

2019 AFC North Outlook

The 2019 AFC North Outlook

img_7471By Jimmy Herring

Guess who’s back….back again…. No seriously, I haven’t been on the videos as much due to work beating me down as well as home life taking a little turn to the left. Just don’t think for one second I’m going to up and leave one of the best things I’ve had an opportunity to do in a long time. I’ll be making my on screen return very soon. Until then, it’s time for my annual, unfiltered, wild majestic  AFC North Outlook in which I dive into each teams transactions, who I see them potentially targeting in the first round of the NFL Draft, mixed with some banter to either get you laughing or piss you off. Pretty sure I’m going to piss a few people off on what I have to type….(cawwww cawwww)….. So let us get this party started!

 

Let us start with probably the least active team and as of right now, the last place team in the AFC north…The Baltimo…. The Cincinnati Bengals! Yayyyy…. Or for the sake of our AFC North followers, who gives a damn about them? They finally canned Marvin Lewis after several lackluster seasons with either brief playoff visits or the 7-9 to 8-8 records they would usually have. Is it right to say the Marvin Lewis is a bootleg Jeff Fisher? He most likely is. They have problems to me across the board. Whether it’s the health of player, the production of player, the suspensions of players, the respect the players have for the coaches and ownership, there’s everywhere. Let us start with the good. They went and got a new head coach in Zac Taylor who I honestly know nothing about except he’s one of Sean McVay’s road dogs. A young coach with higher energy is something that can put the good stamp on the culture. There are plenty of coaches you want to play for and some I wouldn’t pay to play for. Marvin Lewis looks like the quiet uncle with no swag that sits in the living room of the family reunion and doesn’t know how to fit in. No one wanted to lay it all on the line for him. So a culture shift was due. Next and probably the best thing they’ve done was can Vontaze Burfict. Hallelujah! To change the culture you have to get rid of cancerous players in the locker room. That dude was one hit away from the opposing team whooping his ass, his own team whooping his ass, and a severe injury due to his dirty play nature. In the words of Duane “GET EM OUTTTT!”  No other big moves were made with the Bengals as of yet. Sometimes no news is good news. So who do I think they could go after in the draft? The biggest need is inside linebacker. I could definitely see a Devin White or Devin Bush at pick #11 if they decide to go defense. Both of those kids are athletic freaks who love the game and have the leadership skills that you want on your defense. If they decide to go offense, I could see an offensive lineman like Jawaan Taylor out of Florida or Jonah Williams from Alabama. You have to protect your Franchise Quarterback! That is something that they have ultimately struggled with for a few years. My petty pick would be to take any of the Quarterbacks and ship Andy Dalton off to no man’s land. But that contract he’s locked into looks pretty steep. They may have to keep him for another year or two.

 

Now it’s time to discuss my third place team at this point…. The Baltimore Ravens. Yes… I can hear Gerald and Duane in my ear lighting me up. Just stick with me here for a few minutes. The Ravens are probably one of the smartest teams in the AFC North at this very point. They are also one of the most delusional teams in the AFC North as well. This isn’t an opportunity for me to slander the Ravens. I can do that whenever I feel like it. From a football fan perspective, I’m so happy the Joe Flacco era is over. Yes, he brought a ring to Baltimore. Yes he had that playoff run that was incredible. He looked like a future superstar! After that playoff run and that fat payday, I believe he got complacent and said he got his bread. I’ll never forget last NFL offseason. I told BOTH of my best friends Lamar Jackson would be a Raven. And they scoffed at me. Matter of fact after the Ravens drafted Hayden Hurst, Duane went to bed. I stayed up as I was interested in what could happen. That’s when the Ravens traded back into the first round and selected Lamar Jackson.  I was happy and confused on how this was going to play out. Well it played out pretty well. Joe Flacco sustained an injury and Lamar took the wheel and never looked back. They made the playoffs and made the statement that they needed. The birds were back… and not the Orioles. This offseason for them hasn’t gone so well in my eyes. I know my Charm City Beat team hates when I talk about the Ravens. Let us not act like I haven’t lived in Maryland for 20+ years and have been forced to digest this team. I know them almost as well as I know the Steelers. They lost CJ Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, Zadarius Smith, Alex Collins (he made his bed on that one), Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and probably a few that I’m missing. Mosley wanted his bag and deserved his bag. Suggs was a shocker. I thought he’d retire a Raven. But let’s not act like his playing time wasn’t declining. Can he still be a productive pass rusher? Absolutely he can. He just isn’t an every down guy at this point in his career. Weddle had up and down play but he was the defenses QB and a straight up Baltimore guy. It sucks that they let him go. I’m sure a contract could have been worked out for the both of them. Zadarius Smith played great and wanted his bag too. Alex Collins??? Weedman Weedman YEAH THAT’S MEEEEE! Crabtree was hot trash. John Brown was the surprise move. That deep threat and speed could have been deadly with Jackson getting the ball to him. So you lose all of that talent on the team. But the splash move of bringing in Earl Thomas is awesome. He brings a ball hawk and hard hitting mentality to the Ravens. He’s the new QB of the defense. He will do just fine and that type of play is needed in the rough AFC North.  Mark Ingram is a solid running back. I’m glad to finally see him in a 3 down role. He could easily top 1000+ yards in the new look Ravens offense. My biggest question with the Ravens is who is Lamar going to throw to? I know they have 16 tight ends but where’s the WR’s at? You got rid of your top 2 guys and haven’t brought anyone in at this point. Which leads to by draft needs… If they go offense in the draft, it has to be receiver and no other position. Luckily the receiver class this year is deep. They could go the speed route and take a Parris Campbell out of Ohio or a Hollywood Brown from Oklahoma. Be wary of WR’s with the last name Brown. Ask Pittsburgh how that has worked out for them. Especially since they are related. I’d steer clear of these egos. The only wide receiver with the last name Brown I’d take is A’s Brown out of Ole Miss which is definitely an option at this point in the draft. If they go defense, I can see a linebacker or pass rusher at this point. Look at a Mack Wilson out of Alabama or Brian Burns out of Florida State. If these needs get addressed in the draft and it pans out, the Ravens could move up to second place or even win the division again. With no good receivers on the roster at this point, I have to leave them in third. Plus the overall talent loss from this offseason makes them a little more vulnerable in my opinion. We shall see.

 

On paper, my second place team is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Yes, throw some bias on it too. I recently had a discussion with Gerald and we both agreed on paper this can switch between both the Ravens and Steelers holding down the 2nd and 3rd ranking in the AFC North. I give Pittsburgh the edge on paper because they are the more complete team at the moment. We have limited areas of concern as of right now. We will dive into that issue in a moment. Let’s talk the elephants in the room. To be completely honest, I gave Lev Bell a ton of shit for not taking the contract that was offered. 5 years 75 million with about 33 million paid in the first two years? Not a bad look to me. I do agree that NFL players deserve guaranteed money as this is a violent game at the pleasure of the consumer. They have to learn to not cut off their noses to spite their faces. I am a firm believer that Lev Bell is a talent player who is a major product of his offensive line and QB. He will be missed but he has been replaced. Enter James Conner who didn’t miss a beat with the team. As a matter of fact he outplayed Lev Bell stat wise from the last full year Lev played. We will be fine in the RB department. Hopefully we add a set of legs in the draft this year. Now let’s talk Mr. Big Chest, Blonde Mustache…..yeah the asshat himself, Antonio Brown. He was my favorite player. He deserves to get paid. He is a top 2 receiver in the NFL and in my opinion, he isn’t # 2. What disappointed me is the growth of the ego, childish behavior, interviews, crying, pissing, and moaning.  He ran his mouth so much that he damaged his value and in turn the Steelers got a Checker burger and fries in picks for him. The locker room cancer is gone. His feelings are probably hurt. Should I be that guy and say his stats are because he gets the ball forced to him? Yes. He is definitely a product of the system as well. I think we will be okay in the WR room. Juju, Moncrief, and Washington should hold up fine. Also, I’m a firm believer in a WR being taken as early as round 1. The need is there for sure. Sooooo, now the reason why I think the Steelers are better than the Ravens right now? We didn’t lose as many players as they did. We are a better defense on paper. We are a better offense on paper. Just saying again that this is all ON PAPER. Paper is different than on the field. They have beaten our ass with less. It’ll always be one of my favorite matchups. When drafting this year, I can see the Steelers going many ways. Some of us say we will trade up since we have the ammo from a few trades. I’m saying we will stay put unless someone crazy is dropping. If we trade up into the top 10, look for a WR or LB. A D.K Metcalf, Devin White, or Devin Bush would be my move but it would have to be for a trade up. If we stay put, I can see a best player available scenario. Look at Nassir Adderly, the safety from Delaware or Noah Fant, the blazing tight end from Iowa. The reason I even slotted Noah Fant here is to do the New England Patriots dirty. Gronk just retired. Do not let Brady get another athletic tight end. For the love of god please don’t.

 

                  Surprise…. The Browns are the projected first place team for the AFC North…. No I haven’t been smoking crack. I may have to if the Browns go 12-4 with a first round bye and on paper there is nothing leading me to the fact that they can’t win the division. They hit big time in the draft last year. Baker Mayfield has the swag and attitude. The kid is a winner. The kid can ball out too. As he got more comfortable, he was slicing teams up. Yes, he had his ups and downs. I still haven’t forgiven him from not getting the Steelers in the playoffs. However, if it’s up to him, he may keep the rest of the north out of the playoffs. The defense is ready and willing to play. Myles Garrett, Sheldon Richardson, Olivier Vernon, and Denzel Ward will lead up a more physical and talented defense. Just thinking of that defensive line gives me nightmares of the havoc they can put out. Then on offense, the have the kid Mayfield, Kareem Hunt (even if he’s suspended for 8 games, he will still be a problem), Nick Chubb who had a great rookie year, Duke Johnson, who may be one of the best receiving backs in the league, David Njoku, Jarvis Landry, and then they had the nerve, the audacity to trade their first round pick and Jabril Peppers for Odell Beckham Jr…. Are you freaking kidding me?! The weakest part of the Browns to me is the offensive line. Also, middle linebacker could be an issue as well. Without a first round pick, they won’t get the top half of the talent. However, with the offseason moves, who needs a first round pick? I truly think they aren’t done at all. I haven’t even dove into the second round of the draft so I’m not going to sit here and throw random names out. It would be crap. Just wait and see with the Browns. I’m excited for them from a NFL standpoint to see how high they can go.

 

                      So after reading this, I’m sure there are upset fans everywhere with me. I could honestly care less. Just look at things from a NFL perspective and not a homer perspective. I’m not telling you to not root for your team. Just be a realist and take your head out of your ass for a few minutes and you may realize something about your own team. I welcome all criticisms and feedback. I welcome new ideas as well as teaching me something I may not know about your team. I’m still a rookie at being a journalist so feel free to beat me up! I look forward to talking to all the readers and listeners of Littube Sports throughout the year. I apologize for the on screen hiatus but don’t worry; I’ll be back and better than ever! Until next time!

Recent NFL Transactions: Antonio Brown, Eric Weddle

By:  Justin Holden

Let’s start this article off with the breaking news, shall we?  Antonio Brown has been traded to the Oakland Raiders.  The Pittsburgh Steelers received 2019 3rd round and 5th round draft picks in return.  The Oakland Raiders also re-structured Antonio Brown’s contract so that he will be earning $50.125 million over the next 3 years.  $30.125 million of that contract is guaranteed money.  This is obviously a huge win for Antonio Brown from a financial perspective, as remaining with the Pittsburgh Steelers would have netted him $39 million over the next 3 years.  It is also an obvious boost to the Oakland Raiders’ wide receiver corps, especially given the departure of Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys last year.  But let’s dig a bit deeper into the aftermath of this transaction, for both teams involved.

antonio_brown_raiders Aftermath of the Antonio Brown trade – Pittsburgh:

Even though Antonio Brown is a once in a generation talent at the wide receiver position and still should have at least a few years of quality production left in the tank, it is difficult to say that the Pittsburgh Steelers lost this trade given the situation they were in.  The Steelers will still have Juju Smith-Schuster and James Washington on the roster, two talented young WR’s that should be able to fill the void over time.  We must also consider that Antonio Brown was an unsettled player that clearly didn’t want to stay in Pittsburgh for the remainder of his contract.  By agreeing to a trade, the Pittsburgh Steelers potentially avoided another ugly holdout situation, like the one they endured with Le’Veon Bell during the 2018-2019 NFL season.  Having said all that, a 3rd round pick and a 5th round pick is not much in terms of compensation for an elite player, albeit an aging one.  I expect a challenging season upcoming for the Steelers, not just because of the departure of Brown and Bell, but also because of the age of veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and what appears to be a resurgence of the Cleveland Browns in the AFC North.

Aftermath of the Antonio Brown trade – Oakland:

I mentioned earlier that Antonio Brown would provide an immediate boost to the Oakland Raiders wide receiver corps, which has essentially been a wasteland since Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper departed from the team.  Acquiring a player of Brown’s caliber for 3rd and 5th round draft picks is a steal.  However, there are some things about this trade that I don’t like for Oakland.  First of all, they increased Brown’s salary from $13 million per year average to $16.66 million per year average, with a sizable chunk of the contract being guaranteed money.  While the Raiders certainly have money to blow, we still have to consider this into the evaluation of this transaction.  Did it make sense for Antonio Brown to be given a raise at this point of his career?  I would argue that he’s only going to get worse with age at this point.  A receiver playing into his thirties will lose speed and agility, which is why you see a lot of older receivers eventually relegated to WR2 or slot roles before they are bounced out of the league.  Brown is definitely a WR1 for now, but I wonder what will happen to his athleticism once he’s in year three of the contract.

The other thing I don’t like about this deal for the Raiders is that the team still doesn’t project to be a super bowl contender.  It would have made much more sense for Antonio Brown to go to a team where he was the missing piece of the puzzle; that last acquisition that could make a team a legit contender.  We all know the Raiders won’t be that even if they draft perfectly this offseason.  They’ve just given up too many impact players for draft picks and you need time for those draft picks to develop into solid NFL starters.  The Raiders made it perfectly clear through their actions last season that the franchise was in rebuilding mode.  So while “Carr to Brown” might end up being a great fantasy football headline over the next few years, I still can’t see the Oakland Raiders being anything more than an 8-8 team for the 2019-2020 NFL season.  Maybe someone should remind Jon Gruden and the Raiders GM that they’re managing a real life football franchise, not a fantasy roster.

Safety Eric Weddle released by Baltimore Ravens; signed by LA Rams:

eric-weddle-rams

Initially, I had mixed feelings about the Los Angeles Rams signing Eric Weddle at the salary they did ($6.25 million average over two years) and trusting him in a starting role for the 2019-2020 NFL season.  I then realized that safety Lamarcus Joyner, who played for the LA Rams during the 2018-2019 NFL season, is set to hit free agency.  When you consider that fact, this move makes sense for the LA Rams.  Joyner is most likely going to command a higher salary during the free agency process as multiple teams bid for him.  Rather than take the gamble of overpaying for a player in free agency, the Rams have opted to sign a veteran safety who has made the pro bowl in each of his last three seasons.  The fact that Weddle is originally from the west coast and was rated as the 10th best safety by Pro Football Focus helps ease concerns as well.  But, all of that doesn’t change the fact that Weddle is an aging veteran who showed a tendency to get burned by speedy receivers last year when he played for the Baltimore Ravens.  Clearly if the Baltimore Ravens saw him as a true pro bowl caliber player, they wouldn’t have been so quick to release him.  LA Rams fans will be hoping for the best with this key signing.  The signing of Eric Weddle could be looked back on as a great value pick, or as a flop.  Only time will tell.

The AAF is Here| Browns Sign Kareem Hunt| Free Agency Predictions

 

This week on 3rd and Goal, we’re all back on the table, and we’re discussing the impact the AAF will have on the NFL, as well as what it could mean possibly for FCS, Division 2, and Division 3 colleges. Also see where we think some players may end up during Free Agency, and see who gets the first ever AAF game ball!

Championship Weekend Recap | Pro Bowl preview

 

We’re back going over the Championship weekend, and Jimmy, Justin, and Duane give thier take on some Questionable calls and just how can they can make the Pro Bowl more entertaining

AFC North | Unstoppable Saints | Low Key Trash Panthers | Nick Foles

Justin, Jimmy, and Gerald discuss NFL action in advance of week 17. We had a week where the Pittsburgh Steelers lost a close one and the Baltimore Ravens picked up a huge win over the LA Chargers. Another big story is Nick Foles leading the Philadelphia Eagles to some huge wins and a possible playoff spot. Are the defending super bowl champions finally positioning themselves as a legitimate threat to repeat?