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Start, Sit & Self-Made

by Seth Woolcock

As the Las Vegas strip skyline faded on my redeye flight home following my time creating content around the NFL draft, I couldn’t help but reminisce. 

Fewer than three years earlier, I spent most of my summer nights pacing my college apartment – alone – wondering if I would ever find my way. My dreams seemed so far away back then, and I was just a small-town kid who came from next to nothing.

See, most people would say I was never supposed to make it this far – at least not this soon. I was a teenager with a story to tell. And the only way I could tell it was by doing this, writing “Start, Sit & Seth,” an unconventional column that combines feel-good life advice with redraft fantasy football analysis.

On this journey, there have been mountainous highs, like meeting a team full of individuals who share my optimistic outlook or having life-changing conversations with my heroes. There have also been testing lows, wrestling my inner demons, fighting my brother outside a courtroom. 

I invested in my education to prepare myself for the life I’m living now. I left my career at a silver spoon university because my plastic spoon Pennslyvania roots told me I deserve more. Sacrifice was evident in my early 20s, but so was remembering to relish the in-between. 

This adventure – scripting mine and others’ stories – began on an autumn afternoon at the age of 19. Today I write after freshly turning 24.

If this is your first time entrusting this column with your time and leisure, or if you’re a regular reader, I assure you that we will get to fantasy football. But first, to entice you to stick around throughout season five of this column series, here’s all you need to know about its writer:

This Was Built, Not Given

I don’t come from a lineage of great writers – well – really writers at all. I make a living solely by creating and editing content and designing websites.

I’ve never truly been understood for choosing this line of work. And finally, I’m OK with that.

Let’s Get Real

I hope to push boundaries throughout the upcoming fantasy football season by exploring new tales that test our strength as humans and question social norms. 

I will continue to uncover new truths about myself and share the sincerities of others. If you don’t mind traveling miles at your finger trips, please stick around.

Time Is Spent

Writing these columns often moves at a snail’s pace as I carefully craft each word of the intro and pour in hours of fantasy football research into the bottom half.

This isn’t the only piece of content I create, but it is the most meaningful to me. It has been mimicked, and I’m sure somewhere it has been mocked. Yet, as long as there are stories to be told and fantasy football to be played, “Start, Sit & Seth” will be here for whoever needs it.

This season, more than anything, I hope to give readers a reason. Grounds to say “yes,” cause to begin or resume. By the time fantasy football championship trophies are handed out next year, I wish that whatever passion is burning inside is no longer just within.

Until then, I have fantasy football insight I’m also dying to share with readers, following perhaps the most unpredictable NFL offseason I’ve seen in my five years clamoring and covering this game. 

Average Draft Position (ADP) will continue to shift throughout the mini and training camps. And my projections and rankings are no different. Below are the players who have risen or fallen the most from the fallout of free agency, trades and the coveted NFL Draft.

Alright, and here we go.

The following rising/fading selections are based on stats, trends and film research, reflecting value in 2022 Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft Leagues.

Quarterback I’m Rising On:

Derek Carr (Las Vegas):  If you’ve read this series for an extended amount of time, you’ve probably gotten that I have been exceptionally critical about the fantasy football output of two quarterbacks: Carson Wentz and Derek Carr.

While Wentz has always been about not believing in his talent and ability to lead, Carr has always come back to his lack of scoring upside. Carr has a career 4.3 TD percent. In comparison, Aaron Rodgers holds a 6.3 career TD percent. Ben Roethlisberger had a 5.0 career TD Percentage. Hell, Baker Mayfield is even at a 4.8 percent career clip.

Derek Carr has only one QB1 season (2016) coming into 2022.

Carr put together a strong 2021 campaign, finishing top five in the NFL last season in passing yards, attempts and completion percentage. Yet, he still failed to finish as a QB1. The blame for this can once again fall on his putrid 3.7 TD Percentage. This was by far the lowest for any QB who finished the top-10 in passing yards, with the next closest being Josh Allen at a 5.6 TD Percentage mark.

Enter Davante Adams, the league’s highest-caliber WR, who caught 29 TDs in just the past two seasons. Carr and Adams should have instant chemistry coming from their days together playing college ball at California State University, Fresno. Adding Adams to a skill position group that already possesses Hunter Renfrow (nine TDs in 2021) and a healthy Darren Waller (nine TDs in 2020), could make for a lethal Raiders offense.

Considering that new head coach Josh McDaniels is now leading the playcalling adds even more belief that Carr could hit a career-high TD Percentage. McDaniels-called offenses have rated in the top-15 in red-zone percentage since 2017.

Carr is being ranked at his floor at QB 15, according to FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR). I’m finally comfortable letting league mates reach for the position and putting my eggs in Carr’s basket.

Quarterback I’m Fading:

Justin Fields (Chicago):  Also suffering from an anemic TD Percentage in 2021 was then-rookie Justin Fields. Fields started 10 games as a rookie, yet threw only seven touchdowns to 10 interceptions, resulting in a 2.6 TD Percentage. And that was with perennial 1,000-yard receiver Allen Robinson at his disposal. 

Justin Fields had just seven passing TDs as a rookie.

What changes for Fields in 2022 is that the bears traded in head coach Matt Nagy for Matt Eberflus, former defensive coordinator for the Colts, and instead of Robinson out wide, it’ll either be Byron Pringle or 25-yeard-old rookie Velus Jones Jr. from the University of Tennessee.

The Bears are also now rolling with Darnell Mooney as their No. 1 receiving option. And while Mooney has impressed for a 5-11, 173-pound round-five receiver out of Tulane, there are still major red flags about whether he can handle that role. Mooney’s career catch percentage remains below 60 percent. He’s never scored more than four TDs in a season and sits at a meddling 1.57 fantasy points per target (69th best amongst WRs).

It seems as if the only way that Fields could repay or outperform his current QB17 ranking is with his legs. Considering he never hit the 500 rushing yardage mark in college, it’s tough to picture him putting up Lamar Jackson or even Jalen Hurts-level rushing output. 

Running Back I’m Rising On:

Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas):  Cost acquisition is the name of the game in fantasy football. What if I told you you could get a player that’s been an RB1 in every season he wasn’t suspended in four straight seasons for a mid-RB2 price tag? What if I told you that player was Ezekiel Elliott?

Ezekiel Elliot has finished as a PPR RB1 in five of his six NFL seasons.

The fantasy football scene is down on Elliott this season after change-of-pace back Tony Pollard had more than 1,000 combined rushing and receiving yards last year. However, on closer look, Elliot still was a standout in his own way last year. He was one of only four players that had 200-plus carries and played all 17 games. 

Dallas also comes into the season without playmaking WR Amari Cooper. Cooper was responsible for 3,168 yards over the past three seasons. And with Michael Gallup still recovering from a late-season ACL tear, the Cowboys are going to need all the offensive help they can get. 

The Cowboys addressed their aging offensive line in the draft, grabbing offensive tackles Tyler Smith and Waletzko in the first and fifth rounds of the NFL Draft, respectively. They’ve also created a sound tight end room comprised of Dalton Schultz, Jeremy Sprinkle and standout blocking tight end Jake Ferguson out of the University of Wisconsin. 

These additions all point to Elliott having better lanes and more production on the ground in 2022. At his current PPR ECR ranking of RB19, I’m loading up on Elliott everywhere I can get him.

Running Back I’m Fading:

Chase Edmonds (Miami):  My love affair with Chase Edmonds was a short one, as he’s falling in my 2022 projections well below his current PPR RB29 ECR ranking. Edmonds is a promising back entering his fifth season but finds himself in a loaded running back room with the likes of Raheem Mostert, Myles Gaskin and – as of this week – Sony Michel.

All four of these running backs have gone over the 500-rushing-yard mark in at least one of the last two seasons, and Gaskin returns after catching 90 balls over the last two seasons combined. We’re about to see the running back committee approach taken to the max this season in Miami with Mike McDaniel taking over who was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in 2021 and the team’s run game coordinator from 2018 to 2020. 

In addition to the committee, there is also a concern by the lack of targets thrown to the running back position by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. Last season, Gaskin was targeted 29 times in the six games quarterback Jacoby Brissett saw at least 50 percent of the snaps. In the 10 games where Tagovailoa was under center, Gaskin saw 34 – a difference of 4.8 to 3.4 targets per game.

You’re likely better off staking your claim in a less-crowded and more pass-friendly backfield this season, staying away from Edmonds near his round six price tag.

Wide Receiver I’m Rising On:

Garrett Wilson (New York Jets):  I never thought the day would come when I am rising on the idea of investing in a New York Jets receiver, but here we are. In April’s draft, Garrett Wilson was the second receiver off the board, immediately stepping into the “X” receiver role in New York.

Garrett Wilson scored 13 TDs in 2021 at Ohio State.

Mike LaFleur, the same man that discovered Deebo Samuel’s dual-threat skill set, will be calling the plays in New York. And considering Wilson has a rushing TD on his Ohio State University resumé, maybe theirs work on the ground to be had by Wilson.

When breaking down Wilson’s tape, the trait that jumped off the page was his ability to separate. His precise route running, met with his explosiveness, will free him up, making him an attractive target for a young quarterback like Zach Wilson. While Garrett Wilson struggled as a rookie, he was efficient in high-value situations, ranking as the 10th highest QB in red zone accuracy and the fifth-highest in deep-ball accuracy. 

Fellow receivers Elijah Moore and Corey Davis, along with newly-signed tight ends C.J. Uzomah and Tyler Conklin, should be enough to open up Wilson downfield, providing possible WR2 upside for the rookie in year one. At the current ECR of WR51, Wilson is well worth the gamble.

Wide Receiver I’m Fading:

Elijah Moore (New York Jets):  When one receiver comes up my ranks, another must come down.  Moore is a sound receiver but is currently being over-drafted, still ranked as the PPR WR31, according to ECR. 

Moore finished just below that as the PPR WR32 as a rookie. But those numbers were inflated by his six total touchdowns on 43 receptions and five rushing attempts. This meant Moore scored a TD every eight times he touched the ball in 2021, a truly unsustainable rate. Moore is also due for some regression if he doesn’t improve his underwhelming 55.8 percent catch rate.

With the added competition around him this season, Moore might be relegated to the slot role in three-receiver sets and could even split time with slot specialist Braxton Berrios, who just signed a new two-year, $12 million deal to stay with the Jets.

My fading of Moore overall has less to do with his pure talent and more to do with trying to stop others from drafting WRs near their ceiling instead of their floor.

If you have a feel-good story that you would like to share for an opportunity to be featured in an upcoming edition of “Start, Sit & Seth,” please reach out.

And for more fantasy football and uplifting content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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