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NFL OTAs News: Fantasy Football Redraft Risers & Fallers (2023)

Start, Sit & Time

by Seth Woolcock

​​“Start, Sit & Seth” is the original column of In-Between Media, bridging feel-good lifestyle advice with redraft fantasy football analysis. Consistently following Seth Woolcock’s journey as a young creator, this series is now in its sixth season. Join him in this edition as he shares the new direction of the company, plus his redraft risers and fallers amid NFL OTAs.

The tides. They’re a lot like pages. They turn.

And the quicker we learn of life’s fluidity, the easier it all gets.

Suddenly, summer weekends on the lake with your best friends and the work week spent perfecting your craft leading up to it mean more. Sure, they’re just memories and moments, but they’re yours.

Writing Our Own Stories

Maybe we don’t choose the hand we’re dealt in life, but we are the ones who choose how we play it.

That was the case for me. It’s your classic story; fortunate that I grew up in a good place to be from but raised by an unfit parent. Luckily, I had my escapes. Sneaking out with my friends on Saturday nights, writing my “novel” and playing fantasy football – that’s how I got through and, ultimately, away.

As in every story, there have been some momentous highs: being named the campus paper’s editor-in-chief at 19, winning a university-wide leadership award the following year and meeting beautiful souls along the way.

But it also did not come without its fair share of challenges. You know, just your average house fires, jury trials and eventual cutting of ties.

This is the journey that made me who I am. And it was this journey that pushed me to begin writing this column series in 2018 and create In-Between Media (IBT) in the spring of 2020.

Mission Impossible

The goal has always been to help and inspire the same way other writers did for me.

When the outside world was crashing around me amid the COVID-19 pandemic, my priority became this site. Once the world came back together, my priority remained this site – sometimes to a fault.

For three years, I shifted my time and focus to IBT, meaning other aspects of my life took a backseat – ones that definitely shouldn’t have. I was so busy trying to get to the top of it all that, at times, I lost sight of our company’s mission.

“Combine feel-good lifestyle advice with fantasy sports & sports betting analysis that helps people win championships & cash + enjoy the in-between on their journeys from “A” to “B” in life.

So, How Are We Going To Fix This?

Unfortunately, we can’t buy time. But we can create it by getting smarter about how we use it.

Over the last 36 months, IBT has been run on a regimented schedule with regimented content. Columns – just like this that combine lifestyle and fantasy sports – are published multiple times a week. This is on top of all our weekly articles, YouTube shows and podcast, alongside additional projects.

Moving forward, columns that hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading like “Through the Field,” “The Mundies,” “First Tee to Last Call,” “Trash Talk,” “Ear to the Ground” and “Powerful Playlists” will no longer run on a consistent basis.

Instead, their writers will be penning more spur-of-the-moment blogs and articles, ultimately, saving them, myself and readers the one thing we can’t buy back: time.

Being the original flagship content of the company, “Start Sit & Seth” will remain weekly during the fantasy football season and periodically throughout the post and offseason. Of course, our weekly YouTube shows and podcast will also remain intact. And don’t forget about our comedy-pop culture NFL show “Pulp Fantasy.” You can still find new episodes dropping sporadically on our YouTube.

The Good Part

It’s bittersweet, really. I’ve enjoyed and learned so much from my colleagues’ hundreds of columns over the years.

However, writing and publishing shorter-form content means we can spend a little more time getting back to what we do best: living. It allows us to make more memories, develop fresher commentary for readers and hopefully help us resonate with a few more along the way.

I’m incredibly grateful for and proud of this company’s original chapter. I’m thankful for everyone who helped make it happen. However, I am even more excited for what lies ahead and for right now – maybe more than ever.

We have just more than 100 days (105 as of publication) until football season is back. Instead of wishing for the time to pass, promise yourself that you’ll make them some of the best 100 days of your life.

Enjoy it. There’s only so much time in-between.

Alright, and here we go.

The following rising/fading selections are based on stats, trends,  film research and news out of NFL (Organized Team Activities) OTAs, reflecting value in early Points Per Reception (PPR) Redraft and Best Ball Fantasy Football Leagues.

Quarterback I’m Rising On Amid NFL OTAs: 

C.J. Stroud (Houston):  I love Anthony Richardson and am in the camp that believes he has QB1 upside as a rookie. However, he’s not the only first-year signal-caller that I think can make an immediate fantasy impact. C.J. Stroud was drafted second overall by the Texans after throwing for more than 8,000 yards and 85 TDs the past two seasons at Ohio State University. Sure, he was throwing to an all-star cast of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. But Stroud never wavered and went toe-to-toe with Georgia University in the College Football Playoffs this year.

NFL OTAs News: Fantasy Football Redraft Risers & Fallers (2023)

C.J. Stroud is currently at +750 odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year via DraftKings Sportsbook.

While there will still be an adjustment to the NFL, I believe Stroud has the potential to see high-end QB2 upside early in the season. The schedule is favorable, seeing only two playoff teams before their Week 7 bye. Plus, I don’t think the hiring of offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik is getting enough credit. Serving as the passing game coordinator with the 49ers last season, Slowik surely had a hand in helping Brock Purdy have immediate success in the NFL. Now he gets an elite prospect in Stroud.

While the weapons aren’t anything to write home about, they could be worse. Dalton Schultz has averaged 5.7 TDs per season on 94 targets in the past three seasons. Positive reports have surfaced about rookie Nathaniel “Tank” Dell building chemistry with Stroud. Nico Collins has posted more than 400 yards in the past two seasons with inconsistent coaching and quarterback play. Plus, we may finally get to see 2021 second-round pick John Metchie. Stroud will likely go toward the end of redrafts. His current Underdog Fantasy best ball Average Draft Position (ADP) via 4for4 sits at QB27 in the 16th round. I’ll take my shot in redraft and best ball formats at that price.

Quarterback I’m Fading Amid NFL OTAs: 

Deshaun Watson (Cleveland):  I try to write the least amount I can about Deshaun Watson, but I’ll take this opportunity to fade him. OTAs are reportedly going swimmingly for the Browns, but I’m not buying it. There are far too many question marks on this team to buy into Watson at his current ADP of QB9.

Unquestioned No. 1 receiver Amari Cooper is still recovering from offseason core muscle surgery.  The Browns have yet to resign Kareem Hunt, which may mean the third-down duties fall to second-year RB Jerome Ford. And outside of tight end David Njoku and Donovan Peoples-Jones, there is very unproven NFL talent on this roster.

I also still think that Browns’ offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt is just biding his time, trying not to step on the toes of head coach Kevin Stefanski’s run-heavy scheme. There’s a chance this Browns offense is among the lower-scoring ones in the league. I am trying to avoid getting mixed up in it all, outside of a late-round dart throw.

Running Back I’m Rising On Amid NFL OTAs: 

Breece Hall (New York Jets):  There’s no denying it. I’ve been a Breece Hall fan since the Jets drafted him with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The love was justified then, as Hall totaled 681 combined yards and five TDs in fewer  than seven full games. He was the Points Per Reception (PPR) RB7 on a points-per-game basis, willing the Jets and fantasy teams to victory early in the season.

The hype is equally justified again as some of the best news out of NFL OTAs recently came out:  Breece Hall was doing side sprints, and “the team is hopeful that he’s ready by Week 1, according to Justin Walters of PIX11 News.

This report makes it worthwhile to invest in Hall at his current ADP of RB11 (30th overall), going in the mid-third round. The offense should be better under the control of QB Aaron Rodgers, and Hall could be a fantasy RB1 yet again. My best advice is if you are investing in Hall, grab either backfield mate Michael Carter (RB64) or rookie Israel Abanikanda (RB68) to stash for the season’s first few weeks in case Hall isn’t back.

Running Back I’m Fading Amid NFL OTAs: 

Alexander Mattison (Minnesota Vikings):  I was fading Alexander Mattison before NFL Free Agency, and I will go against the consensus and fade him again here amid OTAs. Amid Dalvin Cook trade rumors this week, Mattison was interviewed and asked if he could be the Vikings’ RB1.

He responded by saying, “It’s just a matter of time, and the work will show for itself,” according to Fox 9′s Jeff Wald.

This quote has his ADP at RB26, just 13 spots behind Cook. Paying that price for Mattison doesn’t make a lot of sense. Despite Cook being a rockstar, I don’t see the Vikings getting a return for a running back who will be 28 before the season begins and has already suffered a few major injuries. There also aren’t many teams out there desperate for the players at the position right now. If Cook isn’t traded, you’re burning draft capital for a roster clogger.

Even if Cook is traded, it’s likely still a reach for an RB that has seen his efficiency fall off a cliff over the past two seasons. The Vikings also acquired rookie RB DeWayne McBride in this year’s NFL Draft. While McBride was only a seventh-round pick, he was third in College Football last season in yards after contact while playing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). I rather take an end-of-draft dart throw at McBride than spend a seventh-round pick gambling on Mattison.

Wide Receiver I’m Rising On Amid NFL OTAs: 

Quentin Johnston (Los Angeles Chargers):  Injuries are one of the few drags of fantasy football, but they can create opportunities for other players. Some of the more surprising news out of NFL OTAs is that Mike Williams is absent.

If Williams does miss time to begin the season, it opens up an immediate big-time role for rookie WR Quentin Johnston, catching passes from Justin Herbert. And even if Williams is good to go by Week 1, he’s missed an average of 1.8 games the past four years, and Keenan Allen played in just 10 games last year.

Johnston isn’t a perfect prospect by any means. But he is an immediate deep threat, averaging 19.0 Yards Per Reception (YPR) throughout his collegiate career at Texas Christian University (TCU).  That’s something the Chargers desperately need, as Herbert finished 29th in yards per completion (9.9), despite finishing second in the NFL with 477 completions. With the nature of this offense and his first-round NFL Draft capital, there’s a WR2 ceiling for Johnston in year No. 1. I’m willing to take that shot for a WR43 price tag.

Wide Receiver I’m Fading Amid NFL OTAs:

Zay Flowers (Baltimore):  The Ravens are busy installing the new Todd Monken offense at OTAs. While popular belief is that it will be a fix-all solution to the Ravens’ disappointing passing game, I’m not so sure. Monken’s last NFL offense was Cleveland in 2019. Their passing percentage was 59.6 percent that season.  The highest passing percentage the Ravens have had in the Lamar Jackson era is 56.4 percent in 2021. That was Jackson’s worst season as a full-time starter (averaging 20.8 fantasy points per game).

Zay Flowers (Baltimore)

Zay Flowers scored 12 TDs at Boston College last year.

While Jackson has produced at an MVP level, that 36-passing TD season in 2019 looks like an outlier. This is considering he has only 33 passing TDs in the two years since. The offense should improve under Monken, but not to the level some are projecting.

I like Zay Flowers as a prospect. He’s a jack-of-all with playmaking potential on the outside and inside. However, he’s going one spot behind Johnston in the early eighth round, which is too high for me. Odell Beckham Jr. (OBJ) was paid to be the “X” receiver, so he’s likely out there in one-receiver sets. Rashod Bateman has struggled to stay healthy in his career, but he’s still averaged 5.3 targets per game in his career. With the passing game ultimately running through elite tight end Mark Andrews, I don’t see enough volume to have Flowers return value at ADP.

If I need a receiver at this point in fantasy drafts, I’d wait until the double-digit rounds to target more proven veterans like Allen Lazard (WR52) or Adam Thielen (WR60).

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 feel-good content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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[…] you may have read in the most recent “Start, Sit & Seth” column, the site direction is pivoting away from columns and toward more free-form […]

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